Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kockroach: A Novel

By Tyler Knox, 2006, from the library

You should know

I first heard of this book after reading a review in the Inquirer.

And no, I haven’t read Kafka’s Metamorphosis.


Kockroach is a cockroach who wakes up one day as a human.
Cockroaches are survivors, so Kockroach begins using his roachy instincts to survive in the human world. He learns to walk, then to speak. He learns to dress himself, to hold a conversation, and soon to make money, speculate in real estate, and dabble in politics. Every aspect of his live, from food to language to sex, is compared by Kockroach -- aka Jerry Blatta -- to its roachy counterpart.  He is joined by his disciple, Mite, and his sometime girlfriend Celia, from whose perspective several chapters are written – Mite’s chapters are even written in the first person.
At the bottom corner of each page is a little drawing that shifts, flipbook-style, from a roach to a man. I may not be up on my Kafka, but this is a device I recognize from the Animorphs series.

Now, just from browsing the Amazon.com page (linked above), it seems I would have benefited greatly from having read Metamorphosis. Even so, I really enjoyed the story. The major conceit is great, and the gangster story in which is unfolds is surprisingly compelling. It was slightly predictable, but that didn’t make it less fun.


Read it
It’s a very entertaining book, and I recommend it.
In fact, let’s make a deal. You read this, I’ll read Kafka, we’ll compare notes.

The rest of the Internet

Beware of spoilers...
A review at USA Today.
Lisa G at Estella's Revenge greatly enjoyed the book.
A great study guide at BookBrowse, if you decide to read this one with your book club.
The book's official site.
At Campaign for the American Reader, the Page 69 test is applied to the novel.
A fine review at The New York Times.
Evan Gillespie at WhatzUp did not seem very impressed.
Knox reflects on being Knox.
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