"...Estrin is influenced less by Kafka than by Jostein Gaarder, the Norwegian author who stretched a thin fictional skin over the history of philosophy and emerged with the bestselling SOPHIE'S WORLD....Like Gaarder, Estrin is more interested in ideas than character, and, like SOPHIE'S WORLD, INSECT DREAMS is full of expository, and sometimes elementary, passages that have little to do with the action at hand. This is a shame, since Estrin...is undoubtedly talented with the pen. He has a knack for description, and his characterizations of historical protagonists are quick, sure-footed, even poetic....[I]t's a strange, frustrating, and only occasionally fulfilling debut."
"...Estrin's novel, remarkably his first, is beautifully organized and written with integrity and ambition, which is surely enough to recommend it."
From the Publisher
Gregor Samsa, from Kafka's unforgettable METAMORPHOSES, is the hero of this debut novel, in which Gregor the cockroach, after a spell in a circus in Vienna, ends up in New York City as an insectoid superhero and inspires a dance, "the Gregor," that's as popular as the Charleston.
The metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa was surely one of the momentous transformations of modern times. Kafka?s burning vision of the future ended with Gregor being swept into a dustbin. But what if Gregor were to survive and live to challenge the wrongs clouding humanity?s horizon? In Insect Dreams, Gregor?rescued by profiteers? will sharpen his mind against the minds of Wittgenstein and Rilke, dance to the crazy rhythms of Prohibition, and appear as a surprise witness at the Scopes trial. Eventually, he?ll meet FDR, join the brain trust, and move into the White House.||But a talking cockroach with an ethical agenda can wear out his welcome, and soon Gregor is reassigned as a risk management consultant for the Manhattan Project. What follows is nothing less than the explosive birth of contemporary existence?and the culmination of a tale that is as intellectually ambitious as it is warmhearted and funny.|