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Carnival

A Novel

Rawi Hage (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book
 

A stirring new masterpiece from the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award–winning author of Cockroach and De Niro’s Game.

In Carnival, internationally acclaimed author Rawi Hage takes us into the world of Fly, a taxi driver in a crime-ridden apocalyptic metropolis.

Raised in the circus, the son of a golden-haired trapeze artist and a flying-carpet man, Fly sees everything, taking in all of the city’s carnivalesque beauty and ugliness as he roves through its dizzying streets in his taxi. Fly is a reader, too, and when he’s not in his taxi he is at home in the equally dizzying labyrinth of books that fills his tiny apartment. His best friend is Otto, a political activist who’s in and out of jails and asylums, mourning his dead wife and lost foster son. On one otherwise tawdry night Fly meets Mary, a book-loving passenger with a domineering husband. So begins a romance that is, for Fly, a brief glimmer of light amid the shadows and grit of the Carnival city.

Along with Otto and Mary, Fly introduces us to madmen and revolutionaries, magicians and prostitutes as he picks them up and drops them off, traveling through a nightmarish town that is—we can’t help but notice—a parable for our own debauched, unjust world.

Wildly imaginative and darkly ironic, Carnival is a magnificent achievement.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • June 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07242-6
  • 5.9 × 8.6 in / 304 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide excluding Canada and the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“The protagonist of this dreamlike tale is a voracious reader by day and a taxi driver by night. The reader wants to buckle up and join him for the ride.” — New Yorker

“Rawi Hage is, quite simply, a brilliant writer…Carnival confirms Hage’s status as a star in the literary firmament.” — Toronto Star

“Imagine Camus rewriting Taxi Driver.” — Toronto Life

“The things that make Rawi Hage a major literary talent include freshness, gut-wrenching lyricism, boldness, emotional restraint, intellectual depth, historical sense, political subversiveness and uncompromising compassion.” — Globe and Mail

Carnival is a rich and compelling read, a testament to a daring and talented novelist.” — National Post

“Fly is a fine foil for Hage's funny and acerbic observations on everything from religious hypocrisy to aberrant sex—all told with a linguistic virtuosity and lusty bravado that echo James Joyce and Henry Miller. Told in short vignettes, Carnival is the novel of a city defined not so much by its citizens as by the whirling chaos of those who are only wandering visitors.” — Shelf Awareness

“Distinctive and poetic…a tremendous novel--both laugh-out-loud hilarious and full of pathos; deftly constructed, affectionate yet disconcerting, and utterly engaging.” — Andrew Marszal, Telegraph (UK)

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