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Myla Goldberg:
Bee Season
Myla Goldberg
  Bee Season  
Myla Goldberg    
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  Mixing mysticism, mental illness, and the bizarre subculture of spelling bees, Bee Season takes a poignant look at what happens to a family when things don't go as planned.

Nine-year-old Eliza Naumann has never considered herself remarkable, and her teachers and family have done little to convince her otherwise. All notions are challenged when Eliza wins her fourth grade class spelling bee. This seemingly small victory turns out to be just the beginning; within weeks she earns a seat on the high-pressure stage of the national spelling competition. As the accidentally-gifted child comes to terms with her new sense of self, the patchwork of her family begins to unravel.

While they may pass for "normal," the Naumann family proves that looks are deceiving. Patriarch Saul is a bohemian-turned-theologian, who wants nothing more than for his children to embrace Jewish mysticism as he has. Eliza's mother Miriam seems to have it all--a career in law, a solid family, and a shrewd intellect--but underneath this disguise of togetherness lies an obsessive-compulsive personality and need for aesthetic perfection that manifests itself in most unusual ways. Eliza's older brother is a shy, awkward teenager, though his bookish intelligence and eagerness to please his father have always ingratiated him on the homefront. When Eliza falls into the spotlight, Aaron finds himself ousted from the role of golden child. He embarks on a quest for belonging, and in the process becomes entranced by an alternative religion.

Myla Goldberg has created a world of lovable misfits, a world whose inhabitants search for meaning outside the realm of suburban drudgery and the struggles of everyday living. These quests lead Goldberg's characters down highly-unexpected paths, taking her readers on a ride that is at times funny, at times frightening, and always magical and inventive. When she is not writing, Goldberg pursues several other passions; among them, she is an accomplished musician--she plays accordion, banjo, flute, and more--and is a foreign and independent film afficionado. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Jason Little.


--Laura Buchwald
 
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  Photo of Myla Goldberg copyright © Jason Little

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