BookBrowse Reviews Kockroach by Tyler Knox

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


A Novel

by Tyler Knox

Kockroach by Tyler Knox X
Kockroach by Tyler Knox
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2006, 368 pages
    Mar 2008, 368 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book



In an original work of literary noir, Tyler Knox turns Kafka's The Metamorphosis on its head.

In a tale that is more Dashiell Hammett than Franz Kafka, Tyler Knox (a pseudonym of William Lashner) turns Kafka's short story on its head to create the ultimate American immigrant story set against the noir background of 1950s New York. Kockroach is happy with his life, not that he's ever really considered the concept of happiness when one comes down to it, until one day he wakes up and discovers that his normal proud dimensions have been replaced by a new body "ridiculously narrow and soft, its skin beneath a pelt of hair as pale and shriveled as a molting nymph's".

Kafka's Gregor Samsa might have wallowed in despair, but not Kockroach. Cockroaches are the ultimate adapters and after a few days getting to grips with his new body in the privacy of a seedy Times Square hotel, Kockroach, aka Jerry Blatta, is ready to start climbing the dung heap of his new world.

With the assistance of his vertically challenged, low-level hood sidekick, Mite, and his own basic amoral instincts, Kockroach is set to become a powerful player in 1950s New York as he moves up the ladder from gangster to businessman to politician.

It goes without saying that one has to suspend disbelief to read either Kafka's Metamorphosis or Kockroach, but somehow, when one observes human nature, it is easier to believe that cockroaches dressed as men are walking the streets than vice versa!

Look out for: The bottom right corner of each page of Kockroach which has a little image which, when the pages are flipped, shows the transformation of cockroach into besuited Jerry Blatta.

This review was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the March 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.