Monday, 8 June 2009

Book of the Week and Bibliography - Rawi Hage, Cockroach

One day late with my Book of the Week, due to ongoing travel commitments! Cockroach is the second novel from Rawi Hage. Hage was born in Beirut, and grew up in Lebanon and Cyprus. He moved to New York City in 1982, and after studying at the New York Institute of Photographyrelocated to Montreal in 1991 . He subsequently began exhibiting as a photographer, and has had works acquired by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Canada's capital. In addition to his work as a writer and a visual artist, Hage also spent time as a cab driver in Montreal. His debut novel, De Niro's Game (2006), won the 2008 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the most lucrative literary prize in the world for a single novel, and was shortlisted for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2006 Governor General's Award for English fiction. His second novel, Cockroach, was published in Canada in 2008 and was also a shortlisted nominee for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award, as well as being the winner of the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize, awarded by the Quebec Writers' Federation. Canadian firsts (Anansi Press) are very expensive, but UK firsts are well worth picking up now.

"During a bitterly cold winter in a snowy northern city, a self-confessed thief has just tried to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the local park. Rescued against his will and obliged to attend sessions with a well-meaning but naïve therapist, our narrator tells her – and us – his heartrending and hallucinatory story. From his childhood in a war-torn Arab country, to his current life in the smoky émigré cafes of his new city, Cockroach traces our narrator's journey – his longing for a place in the world, his guilt over his sister's death at the hands of her husband, and his love for an Iranian woman, Shoreh, whose life is also a flight from the darkness of the past. As the stories in this remarkable book converge, our narrator must confront the events of the past in the form of another moral but potentially murderous dilemma in the present."


De Niro's Game - Old Street. London, 2007. Paperback.
Cockroach - Hamish Hamilton, London, 2009.

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