Rawi Hage on being a cockroach and a contemporary writer

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Shelagh Rogers is interviewing all five of the Canada Reads authors on The Next Chapter -- one a week between January 6 and February 3! Last week Rogers spoke to Joseph Boyden, and in this final edition she talks to Rawi Hage, author of Cockroach.

Cockroach takes place during one month of a bitterly cold winter in Montreal, and is centred on a community of exiles. The unnamed narrator is one of these immigrants, and a self-described thief who has just tried but failed to commit suicide. Rescued against his will, he is obliged to attend sessions with a well-intentioned but naive therapist. The story shifts back and forth from the narrator's account of his violent childhood in a war-torn country to his descriptions of prowling the frozen night-time streets of Montreal, where he survives on the edge.

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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 Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, presented by the Quebec Writers' Federation. Cockroach is published by House of Anansi Press.

You can listen to Rawi Hage's conversation with Shelagh Rogers in the audio player above. If you'd rather listen to the whole episode, you can do so on The Next Chapter website.

Find out why these books are the chosen ones:


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