Of Bees and Mist

A Novel

Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan's richly atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families; their destructive jealousies, their loves and losses, their sacrifices and deeply rooted deceptions, and their triumphs.

Of Bees and Mist is a fable of one woman's determination to overcome the haunting magic that is created by the people she loves and the oppressive secrets behind their broken lives. Raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, Meridia spends her childhood feeling neglected and invisible. Every evening her father vanishes inside a blue mist without so much as an explanation, and her mother spends her days beheading cauliflowers in the kitchen. At sixteen, desperate to escape, Meridia marries a tenderhearted young man. Little does she suspect that his family is harboring secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden. There are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other. And there is Eva, the formidable matriarch whose grievances swarm the air like an army of bees—the wickedest mother-in-law imaginable.

Erick Setiawan takes Meridia on a tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak as she struggles to keep her young family together and discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as the shocking truths about her husband's family.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416596257 | 
  • July 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Of Bees and Mist includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Erick Setiawan. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



Of Bees and Mist takes place in an unnamed town in a timeless era, a place where superstitions and spells abound, spirits roam free, and even the mist harbors secrets. Here Meridia grows up in a household fractured by misunderstanding and haunted by grief. After a desolate childhood spent trying to understand her mysterious parents, she leaves at age sixteen to marry Daniel, an idealistic young man, and begin a new life. 

Meridia quickly discovers that Daniel’s family is not what they seem. The formidable matriarch, Eva, who has a swarm of angry bees at her behest, maliciously manipulates those around her. Meridia increasingly challenges her mother-in-law’s authority, culminating in a battle to save her marriage and protect her husband and son…and bringing to light a long-held secret that connects their two families.

Spanning three decades, from Meridia’s birth through marriage, motherhood, and the years beyond, Of Bees and Mist is an intriguing see more

About the Author

Erick Setiawan
Photo Credit: Maren Caruso

Erick Setiawan

Erick Setiawan was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents and moved to the United States in 1991. He is a graduate of Stanford University and currently lives in San Francisco.