"In Rawi Hage’s Beirut Hellfire Society, a city wracked with violence and destruction serves as a backdrop to a powerful exploration of the nature of death and what comes next. Twenty-year-old Pavlov, the son of an undertaker, is approached by the Beirut Hellfire Society after his father’s death to take up his work: rites and rituals for those who have turned their backs on religious faith, social mores, and family expectations. As Pavlov’s worlds, internal and external, begin to fragment, we are drawn into an investigation of what it means to die, and, by extension, what it means to truly live."
— 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Ann Y.K. Choi, Mireille Silcoff, Robert Wiersema)
“Rawi Hage’s freewheeling Carnival delights and surprises the reader at every turn. This vivid and wildly original tale is told with all the colour, clamour, and showmanship that the novel’s title evokes. Hage’s narrator, Fly, buzzes through the city in his cab, relaying his impressions — by turns hypercaffeinated and sleep-deprived — in electrifying, often hallucinatory fragments, shot through with violence, madness, beauty, and desire. It all adds up to a veritable magic carpet ride of a story.” — 2012 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Lynn Coady, Esi Edugyan, and Drew Hayden Taylor)