Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:

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.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, c2012.
ISBN: 9780887842351
Characteristics: 289 p. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 03, 2015

Rawi Hage's writing style is so engaging and unique that you can't help but be fully immersed in this story. I didn't give it 5 stars because of the rushed ending that changed the entire tone of the story, in a bad way.

Apr 10, 2014

A good example of the dark novel genre with content for mature readers that is differentiated from the explicit content of the horror genre. Cynical sense of humor delivered deadpan through the main character - Fly, who goes through life without as much as raising an eyebrow at any of the tragic and the absurd events occurring around him. No attempt to impose any moral or ethical judgments on the characters who deal with life in the only way they know how. A very rich writing style that weaves a tapestry of the events prodding the mind to visually construct the scenes as you read. The ending is a bit hurried as if the Publisher gave an ultimatum to finish it or else..

Feb 07, 2014

Well written, fairly dark novel on working class society and immigration. Most of the characters are unsympathetic which is typical of the author. A fairly quick read and worthwhile for most.

Nov 08, 2012

Finalist, Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize 2012. Jury citation: "Rawi Hage’s freewheeling Carnival delights and surprises the reader at every turn. This vivid and wildly original tale is told with all the colour, clamour, and showmanship that the novel’s title evokes. Hage’s narrator, Fly, buzzes through the city in his cab relaying his impressions – by turns hyper-caffeinated and sleep-deprived – in electrifying, often hallucinatory fragments, shot through with violence, madness, beauty, and desire. It all adds up to a veritable magic carpet ride of a story."

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top