Saturday, March 22
Book Review: Cockroach
Author: Rawi Hage
Pages: EBook 189
Summary: 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 émigré 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.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: 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 protagnonist/narraotor 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.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, overall it was good read. I'm not sure this is the best book to start with the author for the first time, but it is well worth reading.
What to read next: The Jade Peony, Under this Unbroken Sky
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mental Health Awareness Challenge, New Author Challenge