Tag Archives: Cockroach

Cockroach is running free

2 Oct

I mentioned a few days ago that I would be releasing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love as my first BookCrossing release when I’m in Las Vegas next week.

But this morning I went on a last-minute trip into Winnipeg, so I decided to set Rawi Hage’s Cockroach free into the urban wilderness while I was there. I left it on a bedside table in the furniture store ‘Bombay’. Hopefully some lucky browser finds the book and gives it a lovely new home!


Book review: Cockroach by Rawi Hage

30 Aug

It was with some anticipation that I opened Cockroach by Canadian author Rawi Hage, and by the third page I knew it was a book like no other I’d previously read. The unnamed narrator, who I’ll refer to as Cockroach, is a middle-eastern immigrant living in Montreal. He endures a bleak existence of cold, poverty and unstable relationships with fellow migrants, and displays an anger and disdain for humanity in general. He doesn’t see himself as totally human anyway; he is part cockroach, and more comfortable away from the sun. He is dirty, a thief and a stalker.

Early on, the novel seems to be going the way of many other award-winners (in my opinion): moody, impressive, but with little in the way of plot. But gradually the reader is drawn into Cockroach’s world, learning, through conversations with his therapist, of his violent past and family tragedy in his home country. We follow Cockroach through a freezing Montreal winter as he attempts to find food and warmth, all the while seeming to struggle with his sanity. He begins a new relationship with an Iranian woman, Shohreh, who has an equally bleak history. Before long the pair is hurtling towards the novel’s dramatic climax.

I could barely put this book down during the last 200 pages (of 305) and I would highly recommend it.

My rating: 4 out of 5

canadian book challenge 4: reading list

28 Aug

canadian book challenge 4 Today is a wet wet wet Manitoba day. A perfect day for just sitting around and reading, and thinking about books.

I’ve decided on my reading list for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge. Although there’s no set requirement, I decided to go with John Mutford‘s suggestion to read one book set in each Canadian province and territory. This should help me learn a bit more about life in different parts of Canada, and also help me to kick my habit of choosing books mainly set in Montreal (it just seems to happen that way!).

This is my reading list:

Yukon: The Tent Peg by Aritha van Herk

Saskatchewan: Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell

Quebec: Cockroach by Rawi Hage

PEI: Ann of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Ontario: Fauna by Alissa York

Nunavut: Rankin Inlet by Mara Feeney

Nova Scotia: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Northwest Territories: Tatsea by Armin Wiebe

Newfoundland/Labrador: Annabel by Kathleen Winter

New Brunswick: Nights Below Station Street by David Adams Richards

Manitoba: A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence

B.C: Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland

Alberta: The Outlander by Gil Adamson

I hope I’ve got the correct setting for each book. If not, I’ll soon find out when I read them!

I’m so excited to read each and every one of these books.

shopping, shopping

24 Aug

I’m just back from a very long but fun day of shopping in Winnipeg. The weather has cooled a bit since yesterday (not that I’m complaining about hot weather – I love it) so racing around from store to store was quite manageable.

When I visualised entering McNally Robinson, I pictured myself walking in, scoping out the place and then pretty much going, well, ballistic with my spending. Carrying a pile of books so high that I could barely see over it to make my way to the counter. In reality, I decided to buy only two novels, as I’m having trouble concentrating on my current reading whilst my TBR pile calls my name. I didn’t want to add too many voices to the calling. “HEY YOU,” the books call. “PUT DOWN THAT OLD BOOK YOU’RE READING AND READ ME INSTEAD. JUST LOOK HOW NEW I AM AND HOW PRETTY MY COVER IS.”

Anyway, I purchased two very promising titles from two excellent Canadian authors: Cockroach by Rawi Hage, and The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews. I also purchased a gold-covered journal for my sister’s birthday (I haven’t told her I started a blog, so I’m not giving away the surprise). I also bought a cute coin purse made of recycled materials and two pretty hair clips handmade in Winnipeg, also for my sister, so they’ll be on their way to Melbourne tomorrow.

The two moose fellows are clearly from a far less high-brow store than McNally Robinson, and were purchased at the Forks today for some children I know back in Australia. They’re in the picture because they’re cute though, eh?

When I asked the saleswoman at McNally Robinson if she had read Cockroach or the Flying Troutmans she said, to my surprise and disappointment, that she hadn’t, but that she’d heard great things about them. I don’t know why I expect staff in bookstores to have read the books I’m buying. When I worked in a bookstore I had hardly read anything that we sold. I was too busy, you know, working. If the truth be told, I think I really wanted the saleswoman to say, “Yes, I have read them both, and you have excellent taste”. Or even better: “Yes, I’ve read them both, and you have excellent taste. You are clearly a super-cool person, and as I am a super-cool indie bookstore employee, I would like us to be friends”. Then we would walk off into the sunset, or the nearest coffee shop at least, and talk about our excellent taste in books.

When I worked in a book store, I wanted to be a customer instead, browsing at my leisure and not having to wear the dorky book store uniform. Now that I’m the customer, I want to be the super-knowledgeable cool geek who’s working the till.

Ok, clearly I need sleep. Good night.