The Fly Trap

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 2, 2015 - Nature - 160 pages
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.”

A mesmerizing memoir of extraordinary brilliance by an entomologist, The Fly Trap chronicles Fredrik Sjöberg’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, Sjöberg 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 René Edmond Malaise. From the wilderness of Kamchatka to the loneliness of the Swedish isle he calls home, Sjöberg revels in the wonder of the natural world and leaves behind a trail of memorable images and stories.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Eoin - LibraryThing

Delightful! Easily the best Swedish entomologist's memoir I've read this year. Sjöberg writes with the total assurance of an expert used to being overlooked. The result is loose-limbed prose ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisapeet - LibraryThing

The Fly Trap occupies the Venn diagram intersection of philosophy, poetry, and entomology—that’s entomology with an “n,” the study of insects. More precisely in Sjöberg’s case, the study of ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Curse of the Starving Class
My Entry Into Hoverfly High Society
A Trap in Rangoon
The Man Who Loved Islands
The Archipelago of Buttonology
René Malaise 18921978
The Riddle of Doros
The Fly Tree
The Entomologists Career
The Island That Sank in the
The Legible Landscape
Doctor Orlík and I
The Allotted Time
Portrait of Old

In the Shadow of a Volcano
The Net and Loneliness

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About the author (2015)

Fredrik Sjöberg is an entomologist and lives with his family on the island of Runmarö, in the archipelago east of Stockholm. He is also a literary critic, translator, cultural columnist and the author of several books.

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