Rawi Hage’s first novel, De Niro’s Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and his follow up work, Cockroach, was the winner of the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Both novels had the rare distinction of being shortlisted for every major Canadian literary prize, including the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. With Beirut Hellfire Society, Hage makes a stunning and mature return to war-torn Beirut of the 1970s.
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Interviews and articles:
- “The camera was no longer seen as a dark box that captures light and transforms it into a form, but as a tool of oppression and misrepresentation” – In the Globe and Mail
Reviews of Beirut Hellfire Society:
- “Death is front and centre in Beirut Hellfire Society, but in Hage’s rendering it is as sensual as it is senseless; this new work of fiction extends the streak of absurdity that runs through the author’s previous three books” – Starred review in Quill & Quire
Beirut Hellfire Society
Set in war-torn Beirut in the 1970s, Beirut Hellfire Society follows Pavlov, the twenty-something son of an undertaker, who, after his father’s death, is approached by a member of the mysterious Hellfire Society – an anti-religious sect that, among their many rebellious and often salacious activities, arrange secret burial for those who have been denied it because the deceased was homosexual, atheist, or otherwise outcast and abandoned by their family, church, and state. Pavlov agrees to take up his father’s work for the Society, and over the course of the novel acts as survivor-chronicler of his torn and fading community, bearing witness to both its enduring rituals and its inevitable decline.