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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The first novel by George K. Ilsley, whose first story collection, Random Acts of Hatred, was published to acclaim in 2004. Told in dream-like fragments, ManBug unfolds as a love story between Sebastian, an entomologist with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Tom, a spiritual bisexual who may or may not be recruiting Sebastian for a cult. They navigate their relationship as damaged ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  41 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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George K. Ilsley
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: fiction, gay, autism, spiritual
This is my own book, so perhaps I'm biased! It still makes me laugh. I have a great capacity to forget things, so there are surprises galore as I re-read bits and pieces. It's funny, the obsessions that fuel the creative process. I did get fan mail from a gay entomologist who read the book twice, and loved it, so that happened!
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian is a gay entomologist with Asperger Syndrome. Tom is a dyslexic bisexual and (nominally) Buddhist. ManBug is the nickname Tom accidentally gives Sebastian (he meant to say BugMan). ManBug the novel is the story of their relationship. The novel is written in the third person, but it is obviously filtered through the mind of Sebastian.

The story of their relationship is told in short chapters which read like ethereal wisps of stories. There is a story here, and despite the light feeling
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing was pretty great, I like the simple and fragmented style, and the story itself was pretty nice and cute at first, but there's so much stereotyping about bisexual men going on, urgh (especially with that ending). I really connected a lot with Sebastian, though.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an refreshingly honest book written through the lens of an autistic gay man and a dyslexic bisexual man (and their relationship). There is no plot, just insights into life that that an older guy can identify with and a younger man can learn from.
Kate O'Hanlon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This quick and dirty plot summary makes the whole of ManBug seem precariously twee, an exercise in quirks and idiosyncrasies, and indeed the duo are spectacularly unique in oddball ways, in particular Sebastian’s additional experiencing of synesthesia, a condition wherein he sees colours in reaction to sounds or words. It’s to Ilsley’s immense credit that ManBug, a novel without a noticeable plot, reads not as overly-precocious experimental fiction, but rather as a funny, sexy, and surprisingly ...more
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-lgbt-lit
Loved it!!! Presenting two of the most peculiar characters I've met in Literature so far...I can offer a paraphrase of 'match made in Heavens' to 'match made in the bugs inhibited labyrinthic Underground' - the latter summarizing the book for me. Mind you: a book that can hardly be summarized, so...the paraphrase is just a perceptional idea after closing up the book; one of many such ideas I have about it.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What original, peculiar, and charming characters! I loved this book. Some of the sexual details went on slightly too long for me, but this is definitely a very memorable read. I loved its sad and happy and somewhat unclear (due to Asperger's) tones throughout, and the insightful connection between insects and humans.
Lil' Grogan
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, 4, lgbt, romance, lol
An interesting, charming voice. The mix of humour, lurking fears, eroticism, obsessions, and bugs gave an interesting peek into the relationship between Sebastian and Tom. Lot of writing was poetic and rhythmic. Some parts were a little trite, but overall I was kept laughing and I liked the development of Sebastian (and his view of the world through colours).
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Low rating just because I didn't care for the content, not because of the TW

r-slur and f-slur, biphobic statements
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Repetitive, boring, focuses on an aspect of natural sciences the author does not know about beyond Wikipedia and tries to use is a witty metaphor for interpersonal relationships but miserably fails. His earlier short stories (collection) were inconsistent and flippant, but their variety was bearable as a couple were almost good. Reading this is just a waste of time.
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(Somehow, I also won the same award in 2015 for fiction.)

Author of the novel ManB

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“The Sanskrit word for awareness is smriti, which no one can pronounce. This may explain why awareness has not become as well-known in the west as karma, dharma, and nirvana.” 0 likes
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