Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Fly Trap

by Fredrik Sjöberg

A lovely wee book that's as much a pleasure to hold (and behold) as it is to read. A rambling memoir/meditation of sorts by a Swedish entomologist, the narrative meanders through myriad subjects, always looping back to insects and those who collect and study them, in particular René Malaise, who sounds made up but isn't. If it's a trap, it's a luxurious trap, a honeytrap.

Describing a book like this one is always a challenge. It's about something, but it's also about everything and nothing in particular, about the journey as much as the destination. Certain writers can start on a subject and artfully pick apart or weave together such disparate threads, with the reader barely noticing. Alain de Botton, author of The Architecture of Happiness (among others), is one such writer. Somewhat stylistically similar books that I've reviewed might be The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea and About a Mountain.

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