The bees in David Malouf's Remembering Babylon.
All of us who love to read have those spine-tingling moments where something extraordinary is expressed. One of my favourites is from Remembering Babylon, by David Malouf, when a character called Janet is swarmed by bees:
"Suddenly there was the sound of a wind getting up in the grove, though she did not feel the touch of it, and before she could complete the breath she had taken, or expel it in a cry, the swarm was on her, thickening so fast about her that it was as if night had fallen, just like that, in a single cloud. She just had time to see her hands covered with plushy, alive fur gloves before her whole body crusted over and she was blazingly gathered into the single sound they made, the single mind.
Her own mind closed in on her. She lost all sense of where her feet might be, or her dreamy wrists, or whether she was still standing, as she had been a moment before, in the shadowy grove, or had been lifted from the face of the earth...
... You are our bride, her new and separate mind told her as it drummed and swayed above the earth. Ah, so that is it! They have smelled her sticky blood flow! They think it is honey. It is."
In a story I'm currently working on, a character gets stung to death by bees, and I remembered and re-read this exquisite piece of Malouf's prose.
What's one of your favourite moments from a book?
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