De Niro's Game

De Niro's Game

Book - 2006
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There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. In Rawi Hage's unforgettable novel, winner of the 2008 IMPAC Prize, this famous quote by Camus becomes a touchstone for two young men caught in Lebanon's civil war. Bassam and George are childhood best friends who have grown to adulthood in war torn Beirut. Now they must choose their futures: to stay in the city and consolidate power through crime; or to go into exile abroad, alienated from the only existence they have known. Bassam chooses one path: obsessed with leaving Beirut, he embarks on a series of petty crimes to finance his departure. Meanwhile, George builds his power in the underworld of the city and embraces a life of military service, crime for profit, killing, and drugs.

Told in the voice of Bassam, De Niro's Game is a beautiful, explosive portrait of a contemporary young man shaped by a lifelong experience of war. Rawi Hage's brilliant style mimics a world gone mad: so smooth and apparently sane that its razor-sharp edges surprise and cut deeply. A powerful meditation on life and death in a war zone, and what comes after.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press : 2006.
ISBN: 9780887841965
Characteristics: 277 p. ;,21 cm.


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Apr 16, 2016

Decent book. The story is a bit slow moving and the plot lacks some meaning as you don't fully feel for the characters and feel the drive the characters have and why they do what they do.

KateHillier Sep 14, 2013

It's the writing style and the subject matter that get to me more than the plot does. The plot is actually...I don't want to say incidental but you could probably quite easily swap out these two main characters for other people and it would just as well. We are not dealing with a sympathetic environment or sympathetic characters here. We can feel sympathy for their situation, and what that has done to make them who and want they are, but it's hard to engage with them. You end up as detached as you do attached.

There's a lot to talk about with this book and that's for sure.

Jan 20, 2013

The author made his characters very real. The whole book was gripping- a real look into another culture.

Jul 22, 2012

Read 2009

Apr 25, 2012

Bassam and George are best friends in Beirut in the 70s where the war is going on. They are just coming of age and have lost a parent or loved one. Follow each of them as they make their decisions on how they will survive through the war and make their mark in their world. Not all is what it seems. The writing is a poetic at times with how things are explained - but inner demons cast everyone as themselves.

Dec 05, 2009

This is an eye-opening account of the civil war in Beirut and what it takes to survive in such a setting. Rawi's writing style with short, aggressive sentences made the violence jump off the page.

Dec 18, 2008

This book is disorienting, disturbing, haunting and compelling both in plot and character development. It is richly deserving of its IMPAC recognition and other critical acclaim.

Jul 25, 2007

The true face of war is described in great detail in this story of two childhood friends that get caught up in the brutality of their reality. A reality that is played out on our television screens every evening without fail. In the words of the author from pages 232-233: Treacherous rivers that wash you and leave you naked and cold. It was our choice, we each spun our own gun barrels, we each had four chances out of five. We all acted out of our own convictions, and out of passion. Reason is a useless fiction.

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