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by Daisy Lafarge

published 5 October 2023

The pathogen arrives anyway and takes a seat at the table. Conditioned to welcome damage, I am curious about this uninvited guest. You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat.

In Lovebug, Daisy Lafarge explores metaphors of love and disease as she seeks to understand human vulnerability and our intimacy with microbial life.

Turning to microbiology, mysticism, and psychoanalysis – as well as the raw materials of love and life – Lafarge navigates the uncomfortable intimacy between the human body and the many bacteria, viruses, and parasites to which it is host.

Lovebug is a book about the poetics of infection, and about how we can learn to live with multispecies ambivalence. How might we forge non-phobic relationships to our ‘little beasts’? How might we rewild our imaginations? In weaving the personal with the pathological, Lovebug complicates the idea of coherent selfhood, revealing life as a site of radical vulnerability and an ongoing negotiation with limit.

Praise for Lovebug

‘A brilliant and engrossing poetic meditation on the self that places its multitudes under a kaleidoscopic microscope. Lovebug takes up the risks involved in living and loving, as well as the radical vulnerability required to be open to the spectrum of intensities – from animating to infecting – that lead to irrevocable change.’ ­– Nuar Alsadir

Lovebug is a wonder. With her warm, welcoming intelligence and razor-sharp prose, Daisy Lafarge moves from microbiology to poetry, from chronic illness to crushing desire. Lovebug is at once a work of critical theory, an intellectual biography, and a detective story, in which nothing less is at stake than the mystery of our connection to one another. It’s also that rare find: a serious book that’s impossible to put down, infectious in the very best sense of the word.’ – Anahid Nersessian

Lovebug is savagely brilliant. Every page is teeming with the horror and glory of life. Lafarge’s writing is rigorous, relentless, revelatory, and, yes, exquisitely beautiful. Possibly perfect. I would say I devoured this book – but really, the book devoured me.’– Elvia Wilk

Lovebug combines the delicate intricacy of a microbial network, the pathogenic force of a virus and the infectious pleasure of great writing. Give yourself the day in bed to read it, and the next one to recover.’ – Josh Cohen

‘Daisy Lafarge’s meditations on sites literary and biochemical, topics messy and divine, delight in their learnedness and unabashed love of risk. A pleasure read, as well as a virtuosic chain of devotional images, Lovebug will make you think very differently about bodies, sex, food, and the variousness of life on earth.’ ­– Lucy Ives