‘Infested,’ About Bedbugs

19ZUK-master315-v2Marlene Zuk at The New York Times:

A book about bedbugs is, by necessity, a book about nearly everything: about travel and adventure, about our ­relationship to nature, about how scientists solve problems, about trust and whether we view strangers as friends or foes. It is a book about what people will do under extreme circumstances, and about environmental politics, and art and mental illness. It is even a book about kinky sex.

Brooke Borel deftly takes us through this arthropod microcosm of the universe, as she traces the culture and biology of a resurgent scourge. The first page of each chapter is delicately spattered with ­ever-tinier drawings of bedbugs; at first you try to brush away what looks like specks of dust, just as you would similar blotches on your sheets, only to have realization dawn. You are infested.

Itchy New Yorkers who remember when staying in cheap hostels or dragging mattresses off the street happened with impunity might be skeptical, but the ­return of bedbugs “isn’t a fluke. It is a return to ­normal, an ­ecological homeostasis.”

more here.