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Nitty, Gritty And Poetic
on January 13, 2007
I got this gem of literature for Christmas this year. At first I thought I wouldn't like it. Hage doesn't follow grammar rules for his conversations, and he has this weird habit of going on poetic ramblings when describing something. It was a bit disconcerting at the begining but I quickly fell in love with his style of writing. His dark subject matter mixed with poetic prose is a powerful combination.
DeNiro's Game is set during the Lebanon Civil War. The protaginist, Bassam, is a young adult on the Christian side of war torn Beirut. While Bassam is fixated on leaving Beiruit, his life long friend, George, is a rising star among the local militia. While bombs fall all around, Bassam, a thug in his own right, sets out on a series of jobs to fund his departure to his dream city: Rome.
As you can guess by the synopsis above this novel does not deal with the bright side of human nature. The bombed out neighbourhood that is the setting for the story is littered with thugs and guns aplenty. Hage captures the gangster allure perfectly, right down to the gun in the belt, and the cigarette in the mouth. He also succeeds equally in cornering the essence of young men, with their sexual daydreams, reckless abandon, and rock hard stoicism. It's gritty subject matter but the author - with his own experiences in Lebanon - is up to the challenge of describing it.
To balance out this dark streak the book throws in a lot of poetry. Bassam will ramble on for about half a page about one thing taking it further and further. A great little sample of this type of writing is found on the back cover. I found this style weird at the start and in fact found it was one of my favourite parts of the book as the story progressed.
This is a great novel. It is a dark tragic page turner that you won't want to put down. I give it ten thousand stars out of ten thousand.