Tuesday, March 20, 2012

`The More Pleasing It All Becomes'

Some of the writing is desperately silly (“The bedbug is a bug. Ugh.”) and sabotages the importance of what Pricilla Long is trying to say in “A Bug Is Not a Beetle,” but like many writers she seems stricken with uncertainty of tone. She’s tempted not by accessibility or clarity, which are always admirable qualities, but faux folksiness. She doesn’t want you to think, God forbid, that she’s taking entomological taxonomy too seriously. When she overcomes her fear of being mistaken for an elitist, she writes well and seriously: “Life is life. But the more of it we can parse, the more pleasing it all becomes.”

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