[Ebook Kindle ePUB] Cockroach by Rawi Hage

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Cockroach

Cockroach is as urgent unsettling and brilliant as Rawi Hage's bestselling and critically acclaimed first book De Niro's GameThe novel takes place during one month of a bitterly cold winter in Montreal's restless immigrant community where a self described thief has just tried but failed to commit suicide Rescued against his will the narrator is oblig. Seeing as immigration is an integral element of the Canadian landscape it should come as no surprise that authors might seek to dip into this cultural stew for dramatic purposes Very few however would likely seek to add the phantasmagorical and hallucinatory elements that Rawi Hage s novel Cockroach brings to the recipeThe Canadian author arose seemingly from out of nowhere in 2006 when his debut novel De Niro s Game was rescued from the obscurity of the slush pile at House of Anansi Press The novel was immediately deluged with plaudits and awards culminating in his recent win of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award the largest English literary prize on the planetNo one could blame Hage for any perceived degree of tentativeness in his approach to his sopho novel Yet while it contains many of the same themes as his first Cockroach proves that Hage is not content to rest on his laurelsLeaving behind Game s war blighted Lebanon Cockroach sets itself in the overtly familiar surroundings of Montreal But while the country may be considerably dissimilar Hage continues his penchant for bleak poetic atmosphere transforming the bustling metropolis into an alien topography of menial jobs mysterious accents insect infestations and class hostilitiesCockroach is first and foremost a character study of a stranger in a strange land A very strange stranger at that an individual who possesses the odd habit of imagining himself at times to be a cockroach Other humans gaze at the sky he explains but I say unto you the only way through the world is to pass through the underground Hage has on his mind than allusions to Franz Kafka however Like Kafka s many baffled protagonists Hage s anti hero may be bewildered by the machinations of the world but he is no mere observer taking pains wherever and whenever he can to make his presence feltSimilar to the leads in De Niro s Game the narrator is not so much a hero as he is a survivor but with a far bleaker approach to life Unlike the start realism of the former novel s the narrator of Cockroach may or may not be on the brink of insanity adding a surreal aspect to many of his daily encountersCockroach s unnamed narrator is an immigrant to Canada an man who ekes out a living through a combination of odd jobs threats and surreptitious thievery After a haphazard suicide attempt explained as being a challenge to nature to the cosmos itself to the recurring light he is ordered to attend therapy sessions to assess his mental competencyThe narrator is not having an easy time of it living in Montreal the clash of cultures altering the man he perceives himself to be Here in this Northern land he laments comparing his new life to his old no one gives you an excuse to hit rob or shoot or even to shout from across the balcony to curse your neighbours mothers and threaten their kids Alongside a gift for breaking and entering the narrator prides himself on his ability to lay bare the true natures of those who surround him I see people for what they are I strip them of everything and see their hollowness I strip them and they are relieved of the burden of colour and disguise Hage writes his tale in short declarative sentences capturing the despondency of a life of potential trapped in a world as similarly rigid in its caste structure as the land that he left The narrator grimly acknowledges himself and his acuaintances as the scum of the earth in this capitalist endeavour and it becomes readily apparent that Hage did not have to trek too far to revisit the themes of isolation and pain that suffused the pages of Di Niro s GameLike that novel Cockroach occasionally betrays a wicked wit beneath the pathos manifesting through the narrator s inserting himself into the lives of those he watches I was part of their TV dinner he writes after one young couple watches him as they would watch a reality television show I was spinning in a microwave stripped of my plastic cover eaten and defecated the next morning just as the filtered coffee was brewing in the kitchen and the radio was prophesying the weather telling them what to wear what to buy what to say whom to watch and whom to like and hate Despite its many admirable ualities Cockroach is not flawless There is an abrupt switch at the halfway point as a formalized plot begins to force its way onto the page The ending involving a weirdly played subplot of a mysterious figure who draws the attention of the narrator s friends feels rushed and incompleteCockroach is also like its hero a supremely frustrating creature alternately fascinating and confused By the finale the skill of Hage is readily apparent but there is a maddening sense of incompleteness to the whole of the novel an impression exemplified by the narrator s freuent digressions that entertain and provoke but don t linger in the mind a dilemma De Niro s Game so effortlessly avoidedNevertheless Cockroach reveals Hage to be no mere fluke but a fearless talent with his best years ahead Regardless of its shortcomings Cockroach exposes a world so otherworldly to most Canadians as to be near unimaginable and reveals an author on the cusp of greatness

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G himself to be a cockroach invading the lives of the privileged but wilfully blind citizens who surround himIn 2008 Cockroach was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize the Governor General's Literary Award and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize It won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction presented by the uebec Writers' Federatio. Yes I completed the book yesterday afternoon and attended the discussion at the library last nightWe had a good turnout there than expected the weather being cold and wetFeelings on the book were mixed not so much around the table but within ourselves as individual members We all agreed on it being a good book in that the author s characters including the protag were exasperating peopleProtag and nobody can figure out what his name is feels sorry for himself due to his poorness Some agreed with me that there are people worse off than him He s an immigrant albiet a seven year resident in Montreal who is having problems adjusting He seems to expect the world owes him a living and a mighty fine one at that He has mental problems that s a given he thinks he s part cockroachAnd he s cold lonely even though he does have a handful of friends who infuriate him when he cannot easily manipulate them into doing his biddingThere s a therapist Genevieve who is typical of the complacent social worker who becomes totally exasperated with the young man when he admits to his wrongdoings his seeming to think his poorness and other people s apparent abundance fully justifies his penchant for break in and theftThe story ends in a bizarre act of violence that does not ring true to anyone s mind Yet when you really think about it it s entirely possible I recommend this read as well as the author s other novel De Niro s Game You may not like the book simply because of the characters who seem to have few redeeming ualitiesBut I have often maintained that if an author can make you dislike and sometimes even hate his characters with a passion then that writer has done hisher jobTurn the pages of this book and you will see

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Ed to attend sessions with a well intentioned but naive therapist This sets the story in motion leading us back to the narrator's violent childhood in a war torn country forward into his current life in the smoky emigre cafes where everyone has a tale and out into the frozen night time streets of Montreal where the thief survives on the edge imaginin. Oh was I disappointed with this bookI hate it It s about all of the clich s that frame immigrants messed up psychotic sex addicts egocentric psychopaths thiefs hallucinating drunkies drug addicts filthy leechesI happen to know many Lebanese who are immigrants in Canada they have worked hard they re serious people they fled the war but they weren t psychotics who got turned on by their own sisters And they re not a threat or terrorists in the make what the hell is this author trying to say What is wrong with himThis book is why I don t read much Arabic books cheap pornographic shallow clich a sad excuse of a bookAnd was the writer trying to imitate Kafka s the Metamorphosis Just wonderingAfter I was half through I just had it with this book so I started skipping pages just to see how it endsAlso all of these political stereotypes about the civil war All used to justify his cockroach lifestyle I couldn t sympathize with it And it made no sense because the character isn t studied in a deep manner we are told about what he does breaking into a house stealing food living with dirty dishes infested with cockroaches etc we never know what he feels inside the author only describes the delusions I don t know why it is very much loved and praised maybe because it feeds certain propaganda and stereotypes It was okay at first but then I just despised it and lost all interestIs the narrator antisocial or schizoid or what In all means it doesn t add up it makes no reliable sense for a scientific diagnosis I wanted ti give it two stars because the author can write I just hate how Canadians read this and think this represents Lebanese modern literature it kills me


About the Author: Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage is a Lebanese Canadian writer and photographerBorn in Beirut Hage grew up in Lebanon and Cyprus He moved to New York City in 1982 and after studying at the New York Institute of Photography relocated to Montreal in 1991 where he studied arts at Dawson College and Concordia University He subseuently began exhibiting as a photographer and has had works acuired by the Canadian Mus



10 thoughts on “Cockroach

  1. says:

    An Arab immigrant as a Scheherazade to his Canadian therapist his wild Third world past as 1001 nights to a steril life of taxpaying T

  2. says:

    Seeing as immigration is an integral element of the Canadian landscape it should come as no surprise that authors might seek to dip into this cultural stew for dramatic purposes Very few however would likely seek to add the phantasmagorical and hallucinatory elements that Rawi Hage’s novel Cockroach brings to the recipeThe Canadian author a

  3. says:

    Disturbing Less of what I liked so much about his first in the way of sweeping poetic language to describe a world of hallucinogenic brutality and focused on an internal world of delusion trauma and sadness The central character here is a soul in great pain but the first two thirds of the novel don't plumb those depths except by in

  4. says:

    Oh was I disappointed with this book?I hate it It's about all of the clichés that frame immigrants messed up psychotic sex addicts egocentric psychopaths thiefs hallucinating drunkies drug addicts filthy leechesI happen to know many Lebanese who are immigrants in Canada they have worked hard they're serious peop

  5. says:

    Rawi Hage’s second novel Cockroach takes place during a frigid Montreal winter and details the picaresue adventures of an unnamed protagonist a recent immigrant from the Middle East and self professed thief who often en

  6. says:

    Cockroach is an engaging character thief suicidal obsessed with the underbelly of life hating his new homeland and the people who live in it why did he come I wanted to ask supposedly illiterate but wonderfully a

  7. says:

    Awesome and haunting and a spot on sense of Montreal portraits the eccentric landlady with fading aristocratic colors the exploitativ

  8. says:

    Yes I completed the book yesterday afternoon and attended the discussion at the library last nightWe had a good turnout there than

  9. says:

    What a fresh approach to dealing with issues of exile I had begun to despair that Arab writers could do it could write nov

  10. says:

    There is a lot packed into this book It is hard to separate my feelings for the main character and my feelings for the book The book is at its core about a marginalized immigrant who has a failed suicide attempt and his interactions with the few other human beings in his life I found the books comments on society's and other people's views of the main character interesting than his own thoughts He is someone who is mar

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