Honeybees and Distant Thunder

(Author) (Translator)

Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Pegasus Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.5 inches | 1.25 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Riku Onda is a No.1 bestselling author in Japan. She grew up in Sendai and attended Waseda University, where she played the alto saxophone. In 1991, Onda won an award with her first novel, and became a full-time writer. In 2003 she moved to South America, where she reported for NHK television on Mayan and Incan culture. As her father was a music enthusiast, Onda grew up listening to classical music and played the piano from an early age, before discovering Western rock and jazz. Honeybees and Distant Thunder was the most celebrated novel of the year when it first published in Japan, winning two major literary awards: the Japan Booksellers Prize and the Naoki Prize (no other novel has won both in the same year). In 2019, it was made into a major Japanese film.

Philip Gabriel, Professor of Japanese literature in the Department of East Asian Studies, the University of Arizona. He has translated many novels and short stories by the writer Haruki Murakami and other modern writers. He is recipient of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature (2001) for his translation of Senji Kuroi's Life in the Cul-de-Sac, and the 2006 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for his translation of Murakami's Kafka on the Shore.


"The tension [is] exquisitely maintained through the final note."--Booklist
"Onda's novel is a thrilling and often nail-biting depiction of music, friendship, and personal demons. She beautifully conveys the transcendent power of classical music in all its emotive, psychological, and visceral glory."--The Observer
"A paean to the power of music, Honeybees and Distant Thunder is an inspired novel about how art transforms people, and how it is transformed by their interpretations of it. A novel that cements Riku Onda as a virtuosic talent."--Foreword (star)
"Driven young people face off at a prestigious Japanese piano competition in this propulsive and poetic novel. A thrilling depiction of the power of music."

--Kirkus Reviews (star)
"A pitch-perfect, vivid masterpiece. A celebration of the love and joy inherent in the act of creating and appreciating music. Honeybees and Distant Thunder contains a warm frequency that vibrates with life and soul." --Nick Bradley, author of The Cat and The City
"Onda's rich descriptions capture often elusive topics--music and longing--and bring the classical repertoire to vivid life."--People, BEST NEW BOOK
"Onda's passion for music is immense and infectious, bursting out of each of her characters with their unique views of the craft. 'Honeybees' is a lovely book to get lost in because it forces you to be in the moment with the story. Onda describes the music in ethereal, pastoral scenes. 'Honeybees' is deeply moving. The now-ness of Onda's writing left me more than once with a big, goofy grin on my face or tears on my cheeks before I could break her musical spell to stop them."

--Associated Press
"One of the most aesthetically beautiful Japanese novels you'll ever read, Honeybees and Distant Thunder is a real masterpiece of Japanese literature."

--Books and Bao
"The vibrant intensity of the characters unfolds page by page as Onda takes her readers through the competition. Onda weaves together multiple storylines to magical effect, detailing each character's fears and aspirations as they move through the competition. Resilience, tragedy, romance, expectations, passion and friendship echo across the interwoven narrative threads, and at every turn, Onda considers how art informs life and vice versa."

--The Japan Times
"Onda's lilting, lovely tale celebrates the classical canon and friendships that flower among competitors."--Christian Science Monitor