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.
Praise for A Bug Collection:
“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 and Wonders: An International Anthology of Jewish Fabulist Fiction; author of The Limits of Pleasure
“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