"Impossible to categorize, wildly allusive and always stimulating, Insectopedia suggests an Enlightenment amateur wandering around the world stocking his cabinet of curiosities, unrestricted by notions of disciplines or specializations. Its author is at one moment a scientist in the field, the next an art critic, then an acute historian. His is a disconcerting, fantastical, (multi-)eye-opening journey into another existence."
Philip Hoare - The New York Times Book Review
A "miraculous book ... as inventive and wide ranging and full of astonishing surprises as the vast insect world itself."
Katherine Bouton - The New York Times, Science Times
"Insectopedia combines the close observation of natural science with an unapologetic search for meaning and an untamed sense of wonder. Hugh Raffles travels the world seeking insects and the variety of ways humans relate to them. And what a variety it is! From eating them to befriending them to fearing them to squashing them for sexual kicks, humans have an enormously complicated relationship to the world’s most numerous creatures. Whole sections of this book are astonishing."
From the Orion Book Award citation - Orion Magazine
"Moving books about bugs don't show up often enough. When they do, one has to be grateful. Hugh Raffles' illustrated Insectopedia owes more to W.G. Sebald than Entomology Today. It's a gutsy and surprising work."
Elizabeth Kolbert - Salon.com
A "big, beautiful testament to the glory of paying attention."
Anthony Doerr - The Boston Globe
"Hugh Raffles’s fluky, perversely appealing collection of essays about
his adventures with insects skips from Manhattan’s water bugs to
Chernobyl’s mutants, from cricket fights to locust plagues."
Janet Maslin - The New York Times
"The coolest, most beautifully written book on bugs imaginable."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Insectopedia: beauty and horror in the world of insects."
The Seattle Times
"This is not a specialist's handbook, although entomologists would benefit from the deep knowledge in it; this is a fine collection for general reading, and we can't recommend it highly enough."
The Austin Chronicle
"After Traveling the World, Hunting for Bugs in Central Park."
Ralph Blumenthal - The New York Times
"A sparkling whole, a wide-ranging and idiosyncratic survey of a world we all too often scorn or swat. Raffles’ passionate essays provide a fascinating introduction to the incredible intricacy of insect life, hinting at worlds we can only imagine. "
The Providence Journal
"In any competition for the strangest delights of this publishing year, nothing is likely to beat this A to Z investigation of bug-world. It’s a revelation of the world of our fellow creatures ... by a writer whose style is equal to his huge and strange task."
The Buffalo News - Editor's choice
"Raffles' book ... sings with scholarship, deft writing, and an authentic fascination with the six-legged creatures that have so long roamed the Earth."
"As Raffles shows our nearby neighbors to be at once dangerous and beautiful, common and incomprehensible, he refracts a world that is newly fascinating."
Audubon Magazine - Editors' Choice
"Erudite and entertaining ... Raffles' eclectic examination of our
diverse reactions to bugs, ranging from scholarly and aesthetic awe to
revulsion or phobia, is an enthralling hodgepodge of historical fact,
anthropological observation, and scientific insight."
Publishers' Weekly - Starred review
"Raffles pries open the mundane details of these intertwined human and insect lives to explore profound questions about the relationships between art and science, humans and animals, passion and instinct, and language and communication. Insectopedia makes us see the world differently - perhaps the most one can hope for from a book."
Society & Space
"While there have been literally thousands of books about bugs over the years, there has never been anything quite like Hugh Raffles' Insectopedia."
"A unique philosophical perspective on how humans perceive the world of nature and, by extension, themselves."
"Arte, letteratura e scienza: l'orribile fascino degli insetti."
Antonio Monda - La Repubblica
"Maybe the most readable book ever written about insects."
The Stranger, Seattle
"Insectopedia ... crackles with the energy of experience."
New Haven Advocate
"Insectopedia is one of the most remarkable
books I have read in a long time. Like its subject, it is many things,
all of them fascinating. In Raffles' hands, insects become windows
into our culture, science, health, even our psyche. In each page of Insectopedia,
the more we learn of insects, the more we come to face - and even
challenge - our own views of the world. There have been many books
about insects, but Hugh Raffles' work stands alone for what it says
about both its subject and about us. After reading Insectopedia, it is
hard to look at a cricket, a bumblebee, and a human being the same way
Neil Shubin - Author of Your Inner Fish: A
Journey into the 3.5-Billion Year History of the Human Body
"Insectopedia: A Q&A with Lucy Tang."
The New Yorker Online
"Stray Questions: for Hugh Raffles."
Paper Cuts: A Blog About Books, The New York Times
"Illustrating the Insectopedia: A Q&A with Parul Sehgal."
"Hugh Raffles' Insectopedia."
The Page 99 Test
"Art, science, beetles, beauty, miracles, manias, and more - the
world itself, dazzling, gleams freshly through Raffles' insect-eyed
lens. Every page delighted me."
Andrea Barrett - Author of Ship Fever and Servants of the Map
"Unique beyond imagination. Bizarre. Endlessly interesting, a book that cannot be categorized... You will never forget having read this book."
The Decatur Daily