Hive is an experimental/poetic, allusive/elusive novel about the possibility of a woman art forger, about the belief in this possibility. 

Hive is interested in anonymity, hidden-ness, how we see, what remains invisible, in suspicion, confessions, lies, obfuscation. 

Hive is interested in belief. Not to mention fakery, forgery, mystification, shams, scams, hoaxes, greed, hunger. Hive is interested in what is real and honest. 

Hive moves back and forth between fiction and creative non-fiction. Hive wonders what it is, and how to be, real in this world, so often fake.


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"To say that Shawna Lemay’s poetic prose in Hive: A Forgery reminded me of Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept may be to invite a weighty – or overblown – comparison of Smart’s classic to Lemay’s more recent text. Such a comparison may be unfair for all kinds of reasons, but the two texts have more in common than their experimentation with poetic prose, although in some ways that hooky, ecstatic language is enough to encourage the comparison. Both books display a consciously romantic hyperbolized style that spins out the trope of the female artist as both performance and disappearance. Both offer a fictive autobiography in which the female artist is larger than life, appropriating and remaking the history of art as a tool for erotic subjectivity and artistic assertion, including the over-riding self-consciousness of the pleasures and the high cost of self-fashioning."

- Tanis MacDonald, Lemonhound

"Hive is a stunning, stinging, carefully crafted work of philosophical insight whose dazzling lyrics draw the reader in at once. With stardust on her tongue, Lemay takes us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns in a dream-like, labyrinthine honeycomb of art, desire and interior mysteries. At every new turn, one feels like a privileged voyeur snatching bits of conversation, moments and epiphanies. Delving deep into memory and hive-like layers of meaning, gradually we are probed to question our own perception of truth. In a captivatingly haunting language, Lemay has once again created a sublime book that merits repeated exploration and contemplation.

- Nina Berkhout

"Shawna Lemay's Hive is an exquisite rendering of the intimacies of those who have been forgotten by history. It is the story of the secret lives of a line of women who strike to the centre of the masculinized world of art, choosing silence rather than fame, in the most elegant and captivating of double lives. Hive sings. It is a powerful weaving of possibilities, philosophy, romance, play, mixed with the deepest inhibitions and exhibitions a soul can undergo."

- Barbara Langhorst

"Shawna Lemay has written the book of her life. Because I knew so little about it going in, as I was reading the first 30 pages, I was thinking, "wow, this is a long preface." And then 50 pages went by, then 100, until finally the forger and the author became so seamlessly intertwined, that I understood that the book is preface/ novel/anti-novel/ apology for nonexistence of anti-novel/explanation for absence of novel/anti-novel. My head fell off once I realized what was happening. The poetic nature of it lends itself to the subject matter and hits all the right notes. 

I see what Lemay is doing with the awareness of being a fake or a forger or a poser, or the various other ways she puts it, and while I don't entirely agree with the parallel between author/implied author and those descriptions, it doesn't matter if I agree with it or not. She essentially says, "this is [not] me. Take it or leave it." I would say this book is a confession, but i would not call it confessional. There's a very thin line there that she has not crossed. I would call this work liminal, in the best sense of that word, in that it straddles two worlds, and two ways of thinking. The artist knows she's writing beautifully, and yet there are all these parallels with fakery, forgery, and secrecy. As though it's all a big sham (house of mirrors) and the writer's flaws are certain to be exposed. That's true bravery in writing."

- Kimmy Beach