The Cockroach (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

England's towering novelist, Ian McEwan (Man Booker award for Amsterdam and now this novella.) has decided to have some fun writing a political satire. (Good idea, that, since our two countries seem like they're trying hard to self-destruct.)   On the surface, it's all about Brexit and Boris but his readers will know he had his eye on a certain other political leader as he wrote it. With more than a nod to Kafka's Metamorphosis, he's turned the Prime Minister into a cockroach. In his new exoskeleton, the PM bludgeons his cabinet into support something he calls Reversalism. Henceforth, the flow of money is upended so workers pay a salary to be allowed to work. To get the needed cash, they earn it by going shopping, where the shops pay them for their purchases. Sounds like a country run by a maniac, doesn't it?

— From Dave


A brilliant, of-the-moment political satire like no other: here is Ian McEwan's Brexit-era take on Kafka's Metamorphosis, centered on a cockroach transformed into the prime minister of England. An Anchor Original.

That morning, Jim Sams, clever but by no means profound, woke from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a giant creature.

Jim Sams has undergone a metamorphosis. In his previous life he was ignored or loathed, but in his new incarnation he is the most powerful man in Britain--and it is his mission to carry out the will of the people. Nothing must get in his way; not the opposition, nor the dissenters within his own party. Not even the rules of parliamentary democracy.

In this bitingly funny Kafkaesque satire, Ian McEwan engages with scabrous humor a very recognizable political world and turns it on its head.

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the novels Nutshell; The Children ActSweet ToothSolar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; SaturdayAtonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593082423
ISBN-10: 0593082427
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Pages: 112