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Beirut Hellfire Society: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Neil Shah

7 Hours 23 Minutes

HighBridge Company

July 2019

Audio Book Summary

On a ravaged street overlooking a cemetery in Beirut's Christian enclave, we meet an eccentric young man named Pavlov, the son of a local undertaker. When his father meets a sudden and untimely death, Pavlov is approached by a colorful member of the mysterious Hellfire Society-an anti-religious sect that, among many rebellious and often salacious activities, arranges secret burial for outcasts who have been denied last rites because of their religion or sexuality.

Pavlov agrees to take on his father's work for the society, and over the course of the novel he becomes a survivor-chronicler of his embattled and fading community at the heart of Lebanon's civil war. His new role introduces him to an unconventional cast of characters, including a father searching for his son's body, a mysterious woman who takes up residence on Pavlov's stairs after a bombing, and the flamboyant head of the Hellfire Society, El-Marquis.

Deftly combining comedy with tragedy, gritty reality with surreal absurdity, Beirut Hellfire Society asks: What, after all, can be preserved in the face of certain change and imminent death? The answer is at once propulsive, elegiac, outrageous, profane, and transcendent-and a profoundly moving fable on what it means to live through war.

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Reviews

  • Randall Decker

    I picked up this book because I am fascinated by the Lebonese Civil War that decimated one of the most progressive and tolerant places in the middle east. While this book is not a narrative of the war or historical in nature, the effects of the war are evident in the writings of Rawi Hage. Though I am not the biggest fan of the subject nor the hedonistic characters, the writing was absolutly brilliant, borderline poetic. I loved the mastery of language and the authors ability to put you in the moment. I am very much looking forward to reading more of Rawi's work.

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  • Margaret C.

    a great sense of adventure in this author I loved it

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