A History of Insects

by Yvonne Roberts

Though the British Empire is crumbling in Peshawar, Pakistan, the mores of clubs, snobbery and racism are still intact within the Raj. This is nine-year-old Ella’s world but the rules and behaviour of the adults confuse her. All she can do is write down what she sees and experiences in her diary. A wickedly witty account of adultery, murder and chicanery amongst the High Commission set.


Directed by Tommy, she also drew ants and a caterpillar and then worried whether a caterpillar was technically an insect, but Tommy told her it was. Finally, she took pains with the title on the cover, carefully colouring in the block capitals in yellow: 'A History of Insects' by Ella Jackson, aged nine and five months. She felt safer already.
She had a hiding place in mind. She turned to a blank page and picked up her pen. Then, suddenly fearful, she put it down again.
'Don't worry if you can't think of anything to write,' Tommy comforted her, misreading her actions. 'Something pretty awful will happen to you soon. It always does at your age.'


The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
The Flower Boy by Karen Roberts

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