The Ardent Swarm: A Novel Audiobook, by Yamen Manai Play Audiobook Sample

The Ardent Swarm: A Novel Audiobook

The Ardent Swarm: A Novel Audiobook, by Yamen Manai Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Youssif Kamal Publisher: Brilliance Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 3.33 hours at 1.5x Speed 2.50 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: February 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781713532194

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

16:39 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

02:43 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

08:40 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

From an award-winning Tunisian author comes a stirring allegory about a country in the aftermath of revolution and the power of a single quest.

Sidi lives a hermetic life as a bee whisperer, tending to his beloved “girls” on the outskirts of the desolate North African village of Nawa. He wakes one morning to find that something has attacked one of his beehives, brutally killing every inhabitant. Heartbroken, he soon learns that a mysterious swarm of vicious hornets committed the mass murder—but where did they come from, and how can he stop them? If he is going to unravel this mystery and save his bees from annihilation, Sidi must venture out into the village and then brave the big city and beyond in search of answers.

Along the way, he discovers a country and a people turned upside down by their new post–Arab Spring reality as Islamic fundamentalists seek to influence votes any way they can on the eve of the country’s first democratic elections. To succeed in his quest, and find a glimmer of hope to protect all that he holds dear, Sidi will have to look further than he ever imagined.

In this brilliantly accessible modern-day parable, Yamen Manai uses a masterful blend of humor and drama to reveal what happens in a country shaken by revolutionary change after the world stops watching.

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Immersive descriptions of animal life…it’s clear that Manai spared no effort to depict bees in the most affectionate, lush, and well-researched terms possible…He leans into the obvious parallels between the inner workings of a bee colony and human power struggles in order to grapple with globalization, colonialism, and the possibilities of collective action. And he pulls it off without making the premise feel contrived, offering deep observations that you’d never know were really about bees.

— Outside Magazine 


  • “For readers who want to know more about the Arab Spring, The Ardent Swarm is a perfect place to begin their journey.”

    — Jake Walles, Former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia
  • Winner of the Prix Comar d’Or and the Prix des Cinq Continents

  • Yamen Manai…speaks with the accuracy of the scientist and at the same time the fire of a poet and the imagination of the novelist.

    — Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, in interview with Patrick Simonin, TV5 Monde
  • [The Ardent Swarm explores] the problems of contemporary Tunisia but [they are] approached in a very gentle, very subtle way, with a smile.

    — Yvan Le Perec, France Bleu
  • What a wonderful little book that is at once an enchantment, a hymn to nature, a warning about intolerance and the fundamentalism that threatens us, and also a great lesson in courage.

    — Gérard Collard, La Griffe Noire
  • Warmth, compassion, and humanity, with here-and-there touches of sarcasm and humor. A well-told tale showing that modernity isn’t always a blessing.

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • Masterly…The enormous talent on display here recommends a second reading to relish the author’s storytelling ability.

    — Library Journal (starred review)
  • Lyrical prose and layered insights…a vivid meditation on societal discord and harmony. This elegant allegory of globalization’s insidious nature finds rich drama in the tense, turbulent reckoning with questions of modernity versus tradition.

    — Publishers Weekly
  • A beautifully written novel that blends poetry with politics.

    — Christian Science Monitor
  • Manai delves into serious issues in this novel, but there’s also this humor, this passion, this humanity that buzzes around every page.

    — Writer’s Bone
  • The ruthless destruction of ecological habitats and the contagion of global transport are the darker shadows that make The Ardent Swarm as much a cautionary tale about environmental harm as an allegory for the death cults of fundamentalists. Manai’s first outing in English makes the reader want more.

    — The Irish Times
  • Seems simple, but it’s not simple at all…quite funny…a very compelling narrative of a society facing immense change…a hopeful novel…inspiring.

    — CBC Radio
  • [A] love song to bees…Manai may write in French and live in Paris, but his books capture a Tunisian oral culture…This one reads as both a lyrical folk tale and powerful indictment of political and religious opportunism.

    — The Tablet
  • The Ardent Swarm reminded me of my time in Tunisia in the years that followed the Jasmine Revolution in 2011. Drawing on real events that took place in the country, the author constructs a revealing allegory about the opposing political forces at work then. For readers who want to know more about the Arab Spring, The Ardent Swarm is a perfect place to begin their journey.

    — Jake Walles, Former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia

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About Youssif Kamal

Kathleen Gati is an award-winning actress who has starred in a number of Hungarian television series and films.