Stray Dogs

Rawi Hage's new book Stray Dogs is a collection of stories about characters who all lead different lives, but who are all restless travelers seeking connection and escaping the past.

Rawi Hage

In Montreal, a photographer's unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours.

The irresistible characters in Stray Dogs lead radically different lives, but all are restless travelers, moving between states—nation-states and states of mind — seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed and reborn. Politically astute, philosophically wise, humane, relevant and caustically funny, these stories reveal the singular vision of award-winning writer Rawi Hage at his best. (From Penguin Random House Canada)

Rawi Hage is a Montreal-based writer. His books include De Niro's Game, which won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2008; Cockroach, which received the Hugh MacLennan Prize for fiction, was defended by Samantha Bee on Canada Reads in 2014, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award; Carnival, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize; and Beirut Hellfire Society, which was on the shortlist for the the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction

Stray Dogs is on the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist. The winner will be announced on Nov. 7, 2022.

The writing is streamlined and confident, understated and wry.- 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury

From the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury: "The short stories in Rawi Hage's Stray Dogs fuse spare, graceful language with world-spanning design. Haunted by war and movement, families fragment and cultures stretch. As the characters cross borders in pursuit of careers and relationships, they are pulled back through fissures in memory. We follow academics and photographers to Montréal, Berlin, and Tokyo, and yet those geographical distances can appear less vast than the cultural distance between a childhood in rural Lebanon and a privileged adulthood in Beirut. Just as travel is grounded by return, accomplishment is undercut by uncertainty, and urbane arrogance often rests on a foundation of humble circumstances. Movement is met with recurring meditations on the static images of photography. The writing is streamlined and confident, understated and wry. As the stories develop, we are confronted by their surprising, lifelike inevitability."

Why Rawi Hage wrote Stray Dogs

"In all these stories, I try to give a statement about technology and aesthetics. It's the nature of photography. Photography in a certain way, touched every possible social commentary or utilitarian technological use. That's why I'm fascinated by that medium. It's really a medium that has no identity, no unity. And, unfortunately, I think now the trajectory of photography — like many things — ends up in capitalism. Even somebody's image became a commodity. Photography became appropriated by consumerism and capitalism and technology on a very superficial level.

In all these stories, I try to give a statement about technology and aesthetics.- Rawi Hage

"But my love for photography stayed. More and more, I'm becoming a historian of photography. I read certain histories about the relationship between photography and culture and power, etc. I try to express this in the form of short stories. And I think that's what the book's about. It's about photography, of a certain era.

Read his full interview with The Next Chapter.

More interviews with Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book Stray Dogs and Other Stories.

Rawi Hage on why writers should feel free to tackle issues like death and morality in fiction

4 years ago
Duration 3:13
In the latest episode of the CBC Books' video series Why I Write, the award-winning author talks about his writing process and how to write fiction based on themes like death and morality.

Other books by Rawi Hage

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