Cockroach by Rawi HageCockroach by Rawi Hage


byRawi Hage

Paperback | August 1, 2009

Pricing and Purchase Info

$16.86 online 
$18.95 list price save 11%
Earn 84 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Cockroach is as urgent, unsettling, and brilliant as Rawi Hage's bestselling and 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. Rescued against his will, the narrator is obliged 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, imagining himself to be a cockroach invading the lives of the privileged, but wilfully blind, citizens who surround him.

In 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 Quebec Writers' Federation.

Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war. His debut novel, De Niro's Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was a finalist for numerous prestigious national and international awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award, and has been tra...
Title:CockroachFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 0.8 inPublished:August 1, 2009Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887848346

ISBN - 13:9780887848346

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 3 out of 5 by from a hard read I had to read this book for a Canadian Lit course in university... I didn't finish it. It wasn't that the story wasn't well told.. I just found the main character somewhat disturbing and hard to empathize with or relate to. i don't think it's a bad book, I just think it wasn't for me,
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Easy This book is not an easy book to get through. It's not complex to read but it can be exhausting. The protagonist is not much of a protagonist, the book is though his eyes but it is very hard to empathize with him despite all the struggles he has gone through. His actions and views on his surroundings make him a very complex character and honestly the thing that I appreciated the most about this book was the way Rawi Hage created a believable environment such an possibly unlikable character was so fascinating because he felt so real. It is an extremely rewarding book, and I would definitely recommend it because I cannot imagine a single reader stepping away from this book empty handed.
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Cockroach Hard to get through, somewhat perverse. Not quite sure how this related to this years Canada reads. A book that could change Canada
Date published: 2014-04-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Cockroach Well, I didn't get it. The attraction to this book eludes me. I don't care for the style of writing, nor could I find a hidden message. But, I finished it. That's number four of the five nominated for Canada Reads 2014. And I have time to get number five done!
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cockroach Fantastic! Awesome imagery
Date published: 2013-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quirky dark tale I like strange novels with disturbed characters and this story definitely fits the bill. Our character in this novel is a petty thief who was caught attempting suicide and now he has to endure government-sponsored therapy or be committed. The story revolves around his somewhat precarious life of breaking into peoples' homes and trying to find money through nefarious means. Although unpleasant, the protaginist is not without charm - he frequently has success with women and he manages to manuevre himself into various social circles. Because of his mental illness, he suffers hallucinations and the cockroaches in his apartment serve as common subjects for his delusions. He often thinks of himself as a cockroach and he enters other homes whilst operating under this illusion. This book is quite short and very entertaining - something to read when you are looking for a book that is a little different.
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rawi Hage's Dark and Lyrical Montreal Little need be said about this slim novel except that it was a jarring pleasure to see the book classified as Canadian, though of course Montreal is to Canada as New York is to America (a wonderful bit of something rather different than the whole). Lyrical and angry, poetic and sinister, this is not your grandmother's prairie novel. Montreal feels dark. The criminal is so sexual. The sexual so perverse. The vice is nice. This is how I feel inspired by this book, not to give details of the author's ethnicity (everyone else does anyway), not to go into political history, because the book so masterfully manages to touch on the political without getting bogged down in it. Which is to say the dream is never ruined. The darkened streets are never lit too bright with some lecture. There are no lectures. There is little light. The beauty is in the darkness, and the flow of the language. -Probably Because I Have To
Date published: 2010-05-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read between the lines Not an easy story to follow but becomes very interesting once you are in the middle of the story. I have to say it is not as good as De Niro's Game but nice
Date published: 2010-02-05

Editorial Reviews

"...Cockroach is the kind of alienated-outsider book the just don't write anymore...While his narrator stumbles through existence, cleaning toilets, and going in and out of lucid and devastating observations, Hage subtly builds a thriller in the background that climaxes written Jim Thompson-cold." - Eye Weekly"[Hage is] an immensely talented writer [who presents a] fascinating portrait of a complex character who is not sure he's human." - Vancouver Sun"Cockroach echoes Hage's trademark concern for life's losers, for the dispossessed, the troubled and the despairing...In a novel laced with dark humour and scorn for the complacency toward suffering in contemporary society, Hage dissects the immigrant experience with incisiveness and a good degree of aplomb." - London Free Press"Cockroach is an unforgettable, good read." - Banipal 36"Hage has done it again. He has produced an amazingly original and brilliant novel that shows he is no one-hit wonder, but a major force in Canadian literature." - Ottawa Citizen"The best novel I read this year was Rawi Hage's Cockroach...which tells the story of an ungrateful immigrant, filled with angst and attitude, in a Montreal which could be Kafka's Prague. It is a dark book, narrated with verve and brilliance. It made me jump for joy." - Colm Toibin"The things that make Rawi Hage a major literary talent - and Cockroach as essential reading as its predecessor [De Niro's Game] - include freshness, gut wrenching lyricism, boldness, emotional restraint, intellectual depth, historical sense, political subversiveness and uncompromising compassion." - Globe and Mail"...a tour de force novel of fearsome wit, skilled prose, and impressive imagination...A beautiful, compelling, original work, one of the finest novels of the year." - Edmonton Journal"Cockroach reveals Hage to be no mere fluke, but a fearless talent with his best years ahead." - Winnipeg Free Press"Hage is definitely the real deal...[Cockroach is] powerful, poetic...a near-thriller; you won't be able to put it down...The prose is tight, the haunting imagery beautiful and unsettling, and the setting vividly evoked." - Now Magazine"Hage's largest debt is naturally to Kafka, but in grating these influences onto a Montreal immigrant's story, he has managed to recontextualize and transcend them...a potent, honest dissection of material that is too often ignored by Canadian writers." - Quill & Quire"Hage's look at the underbelly of organized religion and immigrant life in Canada is unflinching and grim; what's even more remarkable is that he has transformed that material into a page-turner. Cockroach's finely wrought scenes build in tension toward a conclusion that's fitting and yet unpredictable...Readers are bound to be seduced." - Kevin Chong,