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Article

The buzz over 'Little Bee'

Chris Cleave’s novel tops the paperback best-seller list

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Chris Cleave’s novel Little Bee, about the intertwining lives of a young Nigerian girl and a British mother, is sitting pretty atop the paperback best-seller list. Bee was released as The Other Hand in the author’s native U.K., but according to Cleave neither title was his original choice. ”I wanted to call it The Developing World because it’s a term that fascinates me,” he remembers. ”But my publisher rang me up and said, ‘What part of It must not sound like a geography textbook is confusing you?”’ Cleave suspects readers are swarming to the book because the themes of immigration and national identity resonate far and wide. All the buzz has attracted Hollywood, and a movie adaptation with Nicole Kidman is in the works. ”I don’t know what to make of all this,” says Cleave. ”I guess I’m still processing it.”