For as long as humans have existed, insects have been our constant companions. Yet we hardly know them, not even the ones we’re closest to, the ones that eat our food, share our beds, and fill our dreams

New York Times Notable Book
Winner, Orion Book Prize
Winner, Ludwik Fleck Prize, Society for Social Studies of Science
Winner, Special Award for Extending Ethnographic Understanding, Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Winner, Openbook Award, Taiwan
Finalist, De Groene Waterman Prijs, Belgium

Organized alphabetically, Insectopedia moves between brief meditations and extended essays. With stories from China, Japan, Brazil, Niger, Switzerland, Italy, and elsewhere, the book takes readers on a “miraculous” (New York Times) exploration of the lives of insects through history and science, anthropology and travel, economics, philosophy, and popular culture.


Miraculous…. As inventive and wide ranging and full of astonishing surprises as the vast insect world itself. Raffles takes us on a delirious journey.


Katharine Bouton, The New York Times

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.


Philip Hoare, The New York Times Book Review

A big, beautiful testament to the glory of paying attention.


                                                              Anthony Doerr, The Boston Globe

A work of astonishing breadth and beauty… Raffles has produced his own organizational principle for his Insectopedia. This innovative arrangement, not to mention the gorgeous language and teeming imagery, is closely allied with the book’s aim: to present knowledge about the “astonishing perfection” of “the billions of beings” that surround us.


Amitava Kumar, Literary Hub

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 sense of strangeness of the world and, accompanying it, a feeling of awe give to many of its pages the same narrative quality that one associates with the fiction of W.G. Sebald or Michael Ondaatje.


Amitava Kumar, Literary Hub

Lucid and often beautifully constructed prose.… We can’t recommend it highly enough.


Austin Chronicle

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