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BOOKSHOTS REVIEW: Phantom Trains and Imaginary Heavens

Carnival: A Novel - Rawi Hage




Who wrote it?

IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, McAuslan First Book Prize, and two time Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction winner Rawi Hage, author of De Niro's Game and Cockroach.


Plot in a box:

A son of the circus drives a taxi around an unnamed metropolis.


Invent a new title for this book:

The Pilgrim, Chapter 33


Read this if you liked: 

Hage's previous work, linguistic gymnastics, circus freaks, Taxi Driver.


Meet the book's lead:

Fly, a voracious reader, amateur philosopher, and chronic masturbator.


Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

Naveen Andrews, who played Sayid in Lost and Juliette Binoche's lovely-locked lover in The English Patient.


Setting: Would you want to live here?

I've seen different reviews reference the city Carnival takes place in as either North American or Latin American. For me, it has traces of New York City and Montreal, both of which Hage purportedly drove a cab in according to disagreeing profiles. Since I live in Queens and work in Manhattan I'd have to say yes, I would want to live there. Chances are, I already do.


What was your favorite sentence?

When they come to you with prophets and promises of heavens of honey and milk, remember that we are no more than flowers having our last glance at the world before we die, with grace and with gratitude for the wonders we witnessed, for the magic box we built, the animals we loved, the carpets we flew, the stars that we encountered after the spectacle ended and the spectators were left to lament and to wait for the coming of their phantom trains to take them to their imaginary heaven...


The Verdict:

Read the rest of the review here.