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Spend some time with a charmingly self-deprecating entomologist, who compares himself at times to a silverfish, a literary nudist, a trigger-happy hunter, a caliph in a pleasure garden, a drunken Polish translator, a pygmy owl and a dancer. Rather than anthropomorphizing the hover flies he studies, Sjöberg hymenopterizes himself and other collectors. “Fly people,” he assures us, are a species of their own.
— From The Fly Trap
A Nature Book of the Year (The Times (UK)) "The hoverflies are only props. No, not only, but to some extent. Here and there, my story is about something else."
mesmerizing memoir of extraordinary brilliance by an entomologist, The Fly Trap
chronicles Fredrik Sjoberg's life collecting hoverflies on a remote island in Sweden. Warm and humorous, self-deprecating and contemplative, and a major best seller in its native country, The Fly Trap
is a meditation on the unexpected beauty of small things and an exploration of the history of entomology itself.
What drives the obsessive curiosity of collectors to catalog their finds? What is the importance of the hoverfly? As confounded by his unusual vocation as anyone, Sjoberg reflects on a range of ideas--the passage of time, art, lost loves--drawing on sources as disparate as D. H. Lawrence and the fascinating and nearly forgotten naturalist Rene Edmond Malaise. From the wilderness of Kamchatka to the loneliness of the Swedish isle he calls home, Sjoberg revels in the wonder of the natural world and leaves behind a trail of memorable images and stories.