The World Without Us is a beautifully told story of secrets and survival, family and community, loss and renewal.
Part of Juchau’s success emerges from the delicacy of her evocations of the natural world. Another part arises from her wry observations of the way people behave and interact. But the main reason why this novel has impressed me (and makes me eager to read Juchau’s earlier work) is because this youngish author has already learnt how to allow abstract concerns and preoccupations to emerge subtly from at times commonplace characters and situations, rather than trumpeting them.
This brings us back to the title and to the novel’s overarching symbol or conceit: bees and bee-keeping. The World Without Us may be read as a whispered account of the calamity facing an overheating and over-exploited planet.
3.2 rating based on 995 ratings (all editions)
It has been six months since Tess MÃ¼ller stopped speaking. Her silence is baffling to her parents, her teachers and her younger sister, Meg. But the more urgent mystery for both girls is where their mother, Evangeline, goes each day, pushing an empty pram. When their father Stefan discovers a car wreck and human remains on their farm, old secrets emerge to threaten the fragile family. A storm is coming and the MÃ¼llers are in its path.