Cockroach: A Novel

Cockroach: A Novel

Rawi Hage

Language: English

Pages: 305

ISBN: 0393337871

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Funny and sharp . . . playful and erotic."—New York Times Book Review

In Montreal's restless immigrant community, our unnamed narrator is living in despair. Forced to visit a therapist after a suicide attempt, he brings us back to his 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 he imagines himself to be a cockroach invading the lives of the privileged, but willfully blind, citizens who surround him. Cockroach is a carnivalesque, philosophical novel that weaves dark humor with an accusatory, satirical voice, spawning from the subsurface to challenge humanity and its downfall.

Mercy Among the Children

Late Nights on Air

Comme un intrus

The Short Stories from 1909-1922

Sudbury (poèmes 1979-1985)




















knives and tilted plates — all that had flown and landed on the ground, all that had sizzled and escaped the rims of giant pans, all that had been transported by gravity and chased by giant brooms and battered by wet sweeping, all that had been expelled into the hollow of drains in thin, calm waves of grease and water — now fell into underwaged fists and made me sob. The owner came out from behind the bar and silently took my glass from me, opened the cash register, called over the musicians,

slumber accompanied by the aroma of a leaky gas stove. I left the ladies and ran down to the Artista Café on St-Laurent, still hoping to find Reza in a circle of smoke and welfare recipients and coffee breath. As my feet trudged the wet ground and I felt the shivery cold, I cursed my luck. I cursed the plane that had brought me to this harsh terrain. I peered down the street and hesitantly walked east, avoiding every patch of slush and trying to ignore the sounds of friction as car wheels split

before going to meet the restaurant owner as promised. I also decided to take a shower and walk all the way to my meeting. In the shower, my big toe touched the drain, feeling the stream of water running through it. I also felt a vibration, the sound of the drain gulping like a quenched throat on a hot summer day. I got out of the shower and rubbed my skin with the towel. I walked naked around my bathroom, looking in the mirror behind the door. I combed my hair. Under a certain oblique angle of

something else. I waited for his daughter to come out of the kitchen with her daily plate of food. I crossed paths with her, showing her that I was on my way to the basement. Downstairs, I opened boxes with a cutter, took my time placing cans on the shelves, then folded each empty box and tucked it in the corner. I was almost done and Sehar hadn’t appeared. She must be eating still, I reasoned. I took the broom and started to sweep the floor. The boss came halfway down the stairs so that only

dresses, her good manners concealed a deep hidden violence and a resentment of nature’s indifference to her ephemeral existence. We always met in sophisticated places. There were always dinners, cocktails, theatre. I soon became fed up with her make-believe life. I was bored. I hung around for a while because of the food, the wine and cheese. But any hint of misery from me, of problems or violence, was automatically dismissed and replaced with something happy, light, or pretty. Everything was

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