An explosive new novel from the award-winning, bestselling author of De Niro's Game and Cockroach, and only the second Canadian (after Alistair Macleod) to win the prestigious Dublin IMPAC Literary Award.
Beirut Hellfire Society is a brilliant return to the world Rawi Hage first imagined in his extraordinary, award-winning first novel De Niro's Game, winner of the Dublin IMPAC Award, an international bestseller, finalist for the Giller, Governor General's, and Writers' Trust literary prizes, and widely considered a new Canadian classic.
Since publishing De Niro's Game more than a decade ago, Hage has followed up with two award-winning and acclaimed novels set in Montreal's immigrant community: Cockroach (shortlisted for the Giller Prize), and Carnival (shortlisted for the GG and Writers' Trust Fiction prizes). Now, with Beirut Hellfire Society, Hage makes a stunning and mature return to wartorn Beirut of the 1970s, during the Civil War.
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.
Combining comedy and tragedy, Beirut Hellfire Society is a brilliant, urgent meditation on what it is to live through war. It asks what, if anything, can be accomplished or preserved in the face of certain change and certain death. In short, this is a spectacular and timely new work from one of our major writers, and a mature, exhilarating return to some of the themes the author began to explore in his transcendent first novel, De Niro's Game.
RAWI HAGE was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s. He immigrated to Canada in 1992 and now lives in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro's Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for the best English-language book published anywhere in the world in a given year, and has either won or been shortlisted for seven other major awards and prizes, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award. Cockroach was the winner of the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and a finalist for the Governor General's Award. It was also shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Award and the Giller Prize. His third novel, Carnival, told from the perspective of a taxi driver, was a finalist for the Writers' Trust Award and won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. His work has been translated into 30 languages.