Review: The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar

The Honey Month is a book to be savored, a book whose words, filled with longing and love, drip slowly from the page.

It’s such a unique book that I’ve been having trouble writing a review. I loved it, devoured it on the beach one afternoon, but it’s difficult to describe. In the introduction, Danielle Sucher tells of giving thirty-some vials of honey to Amal and Amal used these little tastes as inspiration, writing the 28 pieces in this collection, one for each day of February.

Each day begins with a description of the honey, its colour, smell, taste. She sample such a wide variety of honeys I was amazed at how different some of them seemed, how lyrical her writing is even in this part.

For example, thistle honey-

Taste: Intriguing—definitely an apple taste, definitely green apple, and again, this is one of the refreshing ones; there’s a crispness and a mellowness at once, and I feel it’s playful, a child among honeys, but a wise-eyed child, somehow, the kind to who you’d speak seriously one moment before tickling the next. (pg. 26)

Each honey serves as the inspiration for a bewitching poem or short story, a world full of magic, of young women just learning about life, of bees and flowers, stings and kisses. Sad, hopeful, gorgeous. Pieces unrelated to each other that still come together to form a whole.

From Day 24- Apricot Creamed Honey

When they surround her, she breathes in the vibration of their bodies, exhales music, breathes it in again. They crown and armour her, they hide her while she dissolves into a joy too keen for eyes that come in simple pairs, eyes that could not possibly appreciate the peace, the thrill, the trembling, the way those thousand bodies do. They sing her aching silence out, they chime their wings like champagne flutes, they pat her cheeks and lashes with more love than is commonly thought to be possible.

From Day 14- Raspberry Honey

I’ve worked so hard for you today,
and I am weary, emptied all—

and all I want is a little bed
with a curved moon swinging
and another in the room, singing. (pg. 42)

I’ll grant, this short book is not for everyone, but I was captivated by it. Take your time when you read it, don’t rush, read bits of it out loud. Taste the words. Allow yourself to be drawn into the artwork by Oliver Hunter.

Purchase at Amazon or an Indie bookstore.

82 pages
Published August 5, 2010 by Papaveria Press

5 out of 5 stars

I purchased my copy and the above is my honest opinion.

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