Sunday, December 16, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Rawi Hage (left) with Madeline Thien. (CP / Frank Gunn)
There is a Felliniesque quality to Rawi Hage's latest novel, Carnival. Reading it is like looking into a literary kaleidoscope.
The book is populated by vividly colorful characters - some real, some imaginary - who tumble though vignettes - some imaginary, some real - which are then stitched into five acts.
From the novel's very first sentence: "I was conceived on the circus trail by a traveler who owned a camel and a mother who swung from the ropes", the reader embarks on a strange, sometimes uncomfortable, often funny and poignant journey.
Carnival's narrator is a taxi driver named Fly - a
wanderer who loves books and has such an extensive library that "a carnival of heroes bounces from every corner" of his apartment.
Rawi Hage was born in Lebanon in 1964 and he now makes his home in
Montreal. At one time he drove taxis in both Montreal and New York City.
His debut novel, De Niro's Game, was nominated for many awards and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Cockroach, his second book, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller prize.
This year, Carnival was short-listed for the Writer's Trust Prize for Nonfiction.