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A Bug Collection

“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 to save ourselves: ‘You slide down the glass and try to hide your deformity.’ We take these bugs seriously—with a dose of laughter—because at every turn, every sentence, every move, they reveal the paradox of our own humanity. Nothing feels off or out of place in this bug world. We might learn from these bugs how to live on this dirt.”


—Terry Ann Thaxton, author of Getaway Girl and The Terrible Wife




“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, and vanities in our ongoing search for love. 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




“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




"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, author of Yeled Tov and The Limits of Pleasure; editor of With Signs & Wonders: An International Anthology of Jewish Fabulist Fiction