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Cockroach: A Novel

Hage, Rawi Author

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A bold, razor-sharp novel about a shadowy antihero navigating Montreal’s immigrant underworld.

One of the most highly anticipated novels of the year, Cockroach is as urgent, unsettling, and brilliant as Rawi Hage’s critically acclaimed first book, De Niro’s Game. The 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 by hanging himself from a tree in a local park. Rescued against his will, the narrator is obliged to attend sessions with a well-intentioned but naïve 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 émigré cafés where everyone has a tale, and out into the frozen nighttime streets of Montreal, where the thief survives on the edge, imagining himself to be a cockroach invading the lives of the privileged, but willfully blind, citizens who surround him.

Cockroach combines an uncompromising vision of humanity with razor-sharp portraits of society's outsiders, and a startling, poetic sensibility with bracing jolts of dark humor.

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for Cockroach:

“[A] dark and uncompromising vision. [ Cockroach] offers a version of an émigré underground which is original, raw and brave.”—Colm Toibin

“A dark Dostoevskian fable, which lowers the reader into the sewers of immigrant Montreal to confront an underground world teeming with sex, crime and greedy insectoid life.”—Hari Kunzru

“Searing, affecting, misanthropic.”—Mohsin Hamid

“Most fiction writers are primarily either stylists or plotters, but Hage is clearly both. There’s a slight jolting sensation as the narrative shifts gear from poetic to cinematic, with guns and knives and elaborately contrived set-ups replacing the earlier evocations of drains and flesh and wintry streets, but it’s all managed with great brio and expertise.”—James Lasdun, The Guardian

About the Author:

Rawi Hage is a writer and visual artist. His two critically acclaimed novels, De Niro’s Game and Cockroach, have been translated into twenty-nine languages. De Niro’s Game was the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Cockroach was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Born in Beirut, Hage lives in Montreal.

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