A Bug Collection by Melody MansfieldA Bug Collection by Melody Mansfield

A Bug Collection

byMelody Mansfield

Paperback | October 1, 2013

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A Bug Collection is not for the squeamish. These stories about love, death, and the webby, tenuous intersections between the two take a humorous and heartbreaking look at the complexities of human life through the compound eyes of bugs. When a lone mayfly has a painful revelation about the ephemerality of her own existence, it sets in motion a chain of revelations by more bugs: a honey bee who struggles against a paralyzing depression; a katydid who comes to terms with a life-altering disability; a water strider who offers proof of reincarnation; a tribe of ants who must confront their individual and collective powerlessness in the face of a catastrophic event; a tumbling flower beetle who falls for an abusive mate; an earthworm who gains a Buddhist-like understanding of his place in the universe; and a host of other bugs who force us to consider what it means to be fully alive in a world of dung.

Melody Mansfield’s first novel, The Life Stone of Singing Bird, was published by Faber and Faber, Inc. to favorable reviews from The New York Times Book Review, Booklist, and others. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a variety of literary, academic, and commercial publications including Thought Magazine, Inside Eng...
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Title:A Bug CollectionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:October 1, 2013Publisher:Red Hen PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1939096006

ISBN - 13:9781939096005

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Love and mortality, aspiration and disappointment, evil and the sometimes-futile attempts to overcome it: In her dazzling new book A Bug Collection, Melody Mansfield takes universal concerns like these and boils them down into concentrated, microcosmic packages—several stories, two poems, and one play. Though written from bugs' points of view, all of the works offer insightful glimpses into the lights and darks of living in this world." —Beth Castrodale, Small Press Picks “In the bizarre enchantment of this collection, all the glories and dilemmas of Western civilization are second nature to the dung beetles, katydids, and fireflies, while Melody Mansfield’s reverence for all life makes her intimately acquainted with every pedipalp and scutellum. Immerse yourself in these strange pages: erudite, ecstatic, and suffused with gentle humor.” —Diane Lefer, author of California Transit: Stories and Nobody Wakes Up Pretty   “Mansfield employs the unlikely and fresh metaphors of bugs—mayflies, fireflies, dung beetles, and the rest—to provide a whimsical and sometimes heart-wrenching reminder that the human condition is fraught with battling hopes, fears, vanity, and finding love despite setbacks of imperfection. The writer considers how grand and hopeful we can remain in spite of the unavoidable truth of our mortality.  Gregor Samsa, you are not alone. A Bug Collection is an enlightening, beautiful, and delightful read.” —Jane Bradley, author of You Believers, Are We Lucky Yet?, Living Doll, and Power Lines   “Melody Mansfield’s A Bug Collection offers a richly imaginative, stylistically diverse reading experience full of wit and philosophical insight into love, death, the very nature of human/bug existence. Contemporary stories, buggy retellings of classical and biblical tales, inventive blends. Mansfield makes you love and hate her bug stand-ins for flawed humankind, and offers a rare treat: an incredibly fun story collection (with a play and poems as added bonuses) so full of existential wisdom that when you finish, you find yourself wondering how she pulled it off and longing for more.” —Daniel M. Jaffe, editor of With Signs & Wonders: An International Anthology of Jewish Fabulist Fiction; author of The Limits of Pleasure and Jewish Gentle and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living   “According to Mansfield’s delightfully creative vision, it turns out bugs are like us—just more poetic and better read. Cleverly toying with masters of literature and the forms they used, Mansfield introduces us to a cast of bugs that includes a Tennyson-loving katydid—abhorrer of Shelley, a ‘depressssed’ honey bee who observes another bee plunging into gossip as if it were pollen, and a judgmental firefly who surprisingly discovers love. Even with their compound eyes and different limb counts, these insects reflect our humanity, with our fear of mortality, longing for love, and painful misunderstandings. Their powerful, insect-sized stories are told as Greek tragedies, in poetry (sonnets, villanelle, Canterbury Tales), and in one notable achievement, as a Dragnet episode. In their anguish, they shake their tarsi at God, but like Mansfield’s fluid prose, many of them fly. Join them in their flight; this is a bug collection you must experience.” —Mary Clyde, author of Survival Rates, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Fiction Award   “Not quite fable, but the feel of fable, the bugs in Melody Mansfield’s A Bug Collection are real (and smart!)—filled with yearning, pain, excitement, loss, joy. These stories are authentically human without one single human character. Mansfield’s sentences are sharp and prophetic. In ‘To Kill a Katydid,’ the narrator instructs us on how t