Rawi Hage along with Wayne Grady, Elizabeth Hay and Lisa Gabriele will be at the Uxbridge Music Hall Thurs Sept 27 at 7 p.m. for the town's annual Celebration of the Arts.
Get tickets and books at Blue Heron Books ->
Beirut Hellfire Society. There was a hellfire club where I grew up and CNN’s Jake Tapper’s book is called The Hellfire Club. Hell’s Bells its a theme maybe, maybe enough to get me to pick up Rawi Hage’s newest, the aforementioned Beirut Hellfire Society and I was hooked in the first lines - Pavlov heard the bell, got up and spat - This is a book of choices, of freedoms, of self-definition, of travelling your own path and observing others as they travel to the end of theirs. Pavlov is an undertaker in Beirut, he’s busy, but there are those who can’t get buried for one reason or another, usually by another’s degree and the dead are not bothered to argue. Pavlov is the funeral fixer.
Because he lives among the dead the living fear him. They fear his oversight and because they fear him he is a target. Looking after the dead is an undertaking open to few and the takings are perceived to be lucrative.
Because he is seen as a rich man he is a target. How the fixer fixes to survive is the story Hage has set himself to tell. Pavlov lives in a magical reality, a state where the dead animals are more real than people and people live like animals. It is Beirut in the 1970s, one must be one of the other in this binary war, either with or without, Pavlov chooses his own path through the corpses.
I'll step out into the winderness and say I can see Hage being mentioned soon in the same canonic lists at Ondaatje and Atwood, Rushdie and Garcia-Marquez.