Winner of the Quebec Writers' Federation Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
In the Carnival city there are two types of taxi drivers -- the spiders and the flies. The spiders patiently sit in their cars and wait for the calls to come. But the flies are wanderers - they roam the streets, looking for the raised hands of passengers among life's perpetual flux.
Fly is a wanderer and a knower. Raised in the circus, the son of a golden-haired trapeze artist and a flying carpet pilot from the East, he is destined to drift and observe. From his taxi we see the world in all its carnivalesque beauty and ugliness. We meet criminals, prostitutes, madmen, magicians, and clowns of many kinds. We meet ordinary people going to extraordinary places, and revolutionaries trying to live ordinary lives. Hunger and injustice claw at the city, and books provide the only true shelter. And when the Carnival starts, all limits dissolve, and a gunshot goes off . . .
With all of the beauty, truth, rage, and peripatetic storytelling that have made Cockroach and De Niro's Game international publishing sensations, Carnival gives us Rawi Hage at his searing best. Alternately laughing at absurdity and crying out at oppression, by turns outrageous, hilarious, sorrowful, and stirring, Carnival is a tour de force that will make all of life's passengers squirm in their comfortable, complacent backseats.
- Commended, Amazon.ca Best Books: Top 10 Fiction 2012
- Commended, Amazon.ca Best Books: Editors' Picks 2012
- Commended, Globe and Mail Top 100 Book 2012
- Short-listed, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2012
- Winner, Quebec Writers' Federation Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction 2012
- Commended, Amazon.ca Best Books: Top 10 Canadian Fiction 2012
…richly mysterious…- David Kloepfer
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.- T. F. Rigelhof
Finally, a piece of fiction that roars...Hage’s language is vivid, full of surreal imagery and laced with metaphor...literary risk-takers are rarer every day. I’ll take a novelist with Hage’s energy any time.- Susan G Cole
Hage continues to display a refreshingly confrontational aspect, and is unafraid to address material that writers more steeped in CanLit’s pervading politesse would studiously avoid.- Steven W. Beattie
The overall sense of the piece is a celebration of literature, but at the same time, Carnival is about the harsh, raw, senseless world that inspires books, driving home the fact that truth is -- unavoidably -- stranger than fiction.- Christine Mazur
The normally polite CanLit canon won’t prepare you for the violence, obsession, anger, lust and corruption of Hage’s books ... imagine Camus rewriting Taxi Driver.- Toronto Life
It’s easy to see why Carnival made Hage one of the finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize ... the strands of the story weave tightly around the reader, leaving one tangled in a web of enchantment.- Sofia Gay
Fly's world is a bleak place, filled with themes of death and the grotesque and gritty pleasure.- Fraser Julia
[Hage's] most exuberant, imaginative and playful [novel] yet.- Telegraph Journal
Hage’s prose is addictive ... [Carnival is] amazing, original, and impolite.- Eric Boodman
Carnival is a rich and compelling read, a testament to a daring and talented novelist.- Devon Code
Rawi Hage is, quite simply, a brilliant writer ... Carnival confirms Hage's status as a star in the literary firmament.- Laura Eggertson
[Carnival] is delivered in Hage’s festive, hard-boiled style. The novel’s short scenes of decadence and desperation spray across the pages like buckshot –loud and scattered, but still penetrating.- Manoli Kouremetis
Hage’s writing can be poetic, funny and tragic. Most importantly, it always bears the mark of displacement.- Paste