- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: House of Anansi Press; 1st Edition edition (April 7 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0887841961
- ISBN-13: 978-0887841965
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #395,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
De Niro's Game Hardcover – Apr 7 2006
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...provides an essential historical context to current political turmoil in Lebanon... (Fast Forward Weekly 2007-04-01)
[A] masterpiece...writing cannot really get much better than Hage's. (Literary Review of Canada 2007-04-01)
...De Niro's Game discloses much to a Canadian audience largely sheltered from the physical and emotional effects of war...Bassam's voice, though emotionally restrained, tells a story that is not only vivid, but also illuminating. (Matrix Magazine 2007-04-01)
...provides an essential historical context to current political turmoil in Lebanon... (The Dominion 2007-04-01)
...the incredibly affecting tale of a young man's fight to remain sovereign, intellectually and politically... (The Hour 2006-11-09)
De Niro's Game is a feverish nightmare of a book, written with a distinctly European flair...it stubbornly refuses to offer the reader any easy comfort...[readers] will be seduced by the undoubted visceral power of this suddenly current narrative. (Toronto Star 2007-04-01)
East meets West in this stunning first novel yielding a totally fresh perspective on war-torn Beirut...Both terse and lyrical, Hage's narrative is a wonder, alternately referencing modern American action heroes and ancient Arabic imagery. The blend of the two is as startling as it is beautiful. (Booklist 2007-04-01)
Hage's energetic prose matches the brutality depicted in the novel without overstating the narrative's tragic arc-an impressive first outing for Hage. (Publishers Weekly 2007-04-16)
The excitement of Hage's action-packed plot is supplemented by his visually and viscerally descriptive language... (January Magazine 2007-05-01)
The novel is full of poetic descriptions of the surreal and horrific nature of war delivered through Bassam's stream of consciousness narrative. There are lines that you are compelled to read again and again due to their raw beauty and their insight into how war irreparably shapes human psyches. (Fast Forward Weekly 2006-12-07)
From the Publisher
Scotiabank Giller Prize, Finalist (2006)
Commonwealth Writer's Prize—Best First Book, Finalist (2007)
Winner, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction (2006)
Winner, McAuslan First Book Prize (2006)
Governor General's Award—Fiction, Finalist (2006)
Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize, Finalist (2007)
Top customer reviews
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According to the dust jacket, Rawi Hage lives in Montreal. And, at one point during his novel (and I'm not giving too much away by saying this) it is suggested that one of the protagonists move to Canada. This little bit of writing started me wondering. How much of the story is fiction, and how much of it is based on Hage's own experience? Are the characters a split of the experiences Hage endured, or are they a composite of all the people he knew growing up? Given the chance, I would have enjoyed talking with him about this.
Nonetheless, the book is well written. The language is easy to digest and the plot is easy to follow. I can see why the book was a Giller and GG finalist. Pick this book up and give it a read. It won't take you very long and is well worth it.
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.
It is a dark portrayal of two young Lebanese men who take different paths through life. You will not want to put this book down as Bassam, the main character and narrator, walks you through the details of his struggles to escape the turmoil of the war.
The book is gruesome at times and gives a gloomy portrayal of the desperation of the times.
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