The Hive

Gill Hornby

The Hive

Welcome to St Ambrose Primary School. A world of friendships, fights and feuding. And that's just the mothers. It's the start of another school year at St Ambrose. But while the children are in the classroom colouring in, their mothers are learning sharper lessons on the other side of the school gates. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power...and how to get invited to lunch. Beatrice - undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fund-raising, this year, last year and, surely, for many years to come. Heather - desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate just to belong. Georgie - desperate for a fag. And Rachel - watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover that the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one. 3.6 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
The Hive

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 320
RRP
Date of Publication May 2013
ISBN 978-1408704356
Publisher Little, Brown
 

Welcome to St Ambrose Primary School. A world of friendships, fights and feuding. And that's just the mothers. It's the start of another school year at St Ambrose. But while the children are in the classroom colouring in, their mothers are learning sharper lessons on the other side of the school gates. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power...and how to get invited to lunch. Beatrice - undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fund-raising, this year, last year and, surely, for many years to come. Heather - desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate just to belong. Georgie - desperate for a fag. And Rachel - watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover that the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one.

Reviews

The Sunday Times

Sam Baker

Through the minutiae of school-gate politics, Hornby skewers human nature with the sharpness of a parliamentary sketch writer documenting the power play at Prime Minister’s Questions. Though occasionally laboured, the hive analogy is also cleverly done.

19/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Spectator

Angela Huth

A missing element is a sense of place: no part of the country is mentioned, though I would guess the setting to be a small town in the south of England. But the great pleasure of The Hive is the internal landscapes — the often uproariously funny thoughts each mother has about her friends’ kitchens, gardens, talents and clothes. There’s jealousy, despair, hope, fury, smugness and disappointment all crammed exhilaratingly together in the buzzing minds.

25/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Jenny Turner

Hornby's debut novel, it says on the cover, is "already a sensation", "the book every publisher wanted". It deserves all of it really, for the richness of the concept. You can watch Hornby on Vimeo, talking about how she had the idea while reading Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes, the advice manual on which Tina Fey based her screenplay for the movie Mean Girls. As Hornby saw, it isn't just teenage girls who do cliques and gossiping and bitching. Given the right sort of closed system, the mothers are even worse. The primary-school playground is exactly such a system: all that vulnerability and aggression bouncing around, like lightning. The classical drama would be another.

22/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Isabel Berwick

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/dd741412-c132-11e2-b93b-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2UR02Tgw9 Hornby is at her best in the telling phrase; the details that only mothers notice. So Rachel ponders a pair of inseparable friends: “they’d had too much sun – they looked like a little helping of snack-box raisins.” Then there are the mothers who do nothing but complain – here represented by Clover “who was always hanging around on the edge of things, like a black cloud at a picnic.”

24/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Times

Catherine Nixey

There are some nice touches here, and the story is sweet. But I would hesitate to accept that it is, as billed, “brilliantly observed”. Or perhaps I have just never observed grown women who are moved to tears by a school quiz, trip each other up during mums’ races, or actually say “lolz” and “rofl” without irony. Throughout, you find yourself wishing for the eye of a Barbara Pym or a Jilly Cooper that would characterise the fine female politics of the school gate without caricaturing them.

18/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Independent

Amanda Craig

The women here are too poorly defined to offer us consolation or even laughter. It's hard to remember whether Georgie or Heather is the outspoken one, and both Heather and Rachel seem to find only babies rather than children delightful. Their husbands are vague presences or absences, yet we are supposed to care that one meets a shocking end.

17/05/2013

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore