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Cockroach by Rawi Hage


by Rawi Hage

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2781440,656 (3.76)43
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    The Village Indian by Abbas Khider (Philosofiction)
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    Selected Poems 1956–1968 by Leonard Cohen (Bzine)
    Bzine: The prototypical down Montrealer with nothing but a hairy chest and a poet's heart.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I feel some ambivalence in saying that I enjoyed this book, which is what my 4-star rating usually means. The author has done a masterful job at presenting a clear anti-hero; there is very little to like about the main character. And he is surrounded by conflicted, pitiable characters. I had read more than half of the book before I caught a thread that felt interesting; the story picked up when there was only a quarter of the book left. I was tempted throughout to abandon it but was compelled in hopes of some understanding. I'm glad I stuck it out. ( )
  bsiemens | Sep 26, 2015 |
A Geography 12 reading choice.

“Unique story and style but a dark challenge for me. Although clearly a heavyweight book, one has to invest in its’ layers and manic depression to see the literary virtue.

The choppy run-on style of narrative matches the unstable mental health of the poor immigrant. The protagonist’s bold honesty of dialogue and reflections is poignant. I found myself turning away with some imagery yet the cockroach metaphor does make one wonder what blunt loneliness will hit next. A serious book of the Cdn urban experience. Certainly not beach reading but an exploration of people and place.- A Smith
  literateowl | Dec 27, 2014 |
We all have a notion of what it is like to be an immigrant to our country. Usually it is based on the stories of people who came before us. But Rawi Hage has given a new perspective to what it like to be an immigrant in today’s age that is gritty, bittersweet, and totally refreshing. In short, his novel Cockroach is a brilliant read.

http://pacifictranquility.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/inside-the-buggy-mind-of-an-i... ( )
1 vote steven.buechler | Oct 14, 2014 |
There were aspects of the book I enjoyed, others less so, but overall I found it to be a good read. It may have been a bizarre book, but it was bizarre in good way.

The book was incredibly well written, as where the characters. I think how the protagonist/narrator was written was part of what drew me into the story, as he was a dark, deeply flawed character who's struggling with a lot throughout the book. I think the author captured him wonderfully, and while, he's not a character I could say I liked, he was a very memorable character and he stands out from a lot of other characters I've read recently.

I liked how the author used metaphor of the cockroach for the character, how he feels and lives his lie. I think it worked well in the story, for how the character feels, and how he feels others view him, and I think how the author chose to explore this, helped the reader get into the head of the character. Especially considering, we never learn his name, or where he comes from. Unfortunately, I do think how the author choose to use the metaphor of the cockroach, will also cause some of readers to not read or finish the book. It's very bizarre book at times in how this character thinks, feels and interacts with those around him. I found it a bit off putting at times, and I think there are some readers, who wouldn't give the book a chance, because of this.

I do wish, we could have learned more about the character, it touches on issues of mental health, and it was a major issue affecting the character, but I felt that that part of the character, wasn't addressed enough. It was touched on, especially in the beginning, but then I felt other plot aspects took over. I think the biggest issue I had with the book was the characters, I just never warmed up to them, and some of the secondary characters seemed to hurt the story, more than help it. I felt a few of them, almost took over the book and because of this, parts of the protagonists' story just were sacrificed.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, I liked aspects of it, but other aspects just didn't appeal to me.

Also on by book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Cockroach ( )
  bookwormjules | Mar 22, 2014 |
Cockroach tells the story of an immigrant in Montreal. He is trying to get by in his new country, leaving behind a tragic family situation in his homeland. Our hero deals with being on welfare, having a low-paid, menial job, and commiting petty crimes. He gets by, in part, by imagining himself to be a cockroach....an often hated, frequently ignored creature with an exceptional ability to survive apocalypse.

Well written, fast-moving, this novel provides us with a glimpse of the lives of newcomers and how they struggle to fit in, to come to terms with their past lives, to find meaning in thier new lives. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Feb 27, 2014 |
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What we call species are various degenerations of the same type -- Isidore Saint Hilaire, Vie d'Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1947)
Then Satavaesa makes those waters flow down to the seven Karshvares of the earth, and when he has arrived down there, he stands, beautiful, spreading ease and joy on the fertile countries -- Avesta, the ancient scriptures of Zoroastrianism
For Ramzy, Jenny, and Nala, who bring me smiles; for my brothers; for Lisa, as once promised; for Madeleine, who loves the East; and for my exiled friends: may they go back.
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I am in love with Shohreh.
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A tale set during a month in a bitter Montreal winter finds a would-be thief rescued from a suicide attempt and forced into counseling with a naïve therapist to whom he relates his childhood in a war-torn country and his troubled present life in a series of smoky émigré cafes.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393075370, 0393337871

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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