A man that is an immigrant from the Middle East, moves to the slums of Montreal, where he learns that he is stuck in poverty. When he tries to take his own life, a "man in a speedo" saves him. He is then sentenced to therapy, where he explains his horrid childhood and how he believes that he is a cockroach. He is also in love with a girl, Shohreh, and is friends/enemies with a man named Reza. He gets a job at a restaurant, and can't help but stare at his boss' daughter. He also steals from every rich man and poor woman. Throughout the book the man starts to slowly change, for better and worse.