De Niro's Game

Rawi Hage, Author . Steerforth $23.95 (277p) ISBN 978-1-58195-223-0

This aggressive, prize-winning Canadian import debut recounts the fate of two childhood friends in war-ravaged Beirut. Narrator Bassam dreams of leaving Beirut, where there is "not enough [money] for cigarettes, a nagging mother, and food," and escaping to Rome, where even the pigeons "look happy and well fed." To fund his escape, he enters into a scheme with his best friend, George, to skim funds from the poker arcade where George works. But George is soon coerced into joining the militia and rises to its top ranks, allowing the friends to indulge in freewheeling lawlessness. Their days of riding the streets of West Beirut "with guns under our bellies, and stolen gas in our tanks, and no particular place to go" gives way to betrayal and violence more ferocious than either self-styled thug had bargained for. Though Bassam does eventually leave, he finds he cannot entirely escape Beirut; only in Paris, where the story plays out its third and final act, does he discover the extent of his friend's treachery. Hage's energetic prose matches the brutality depicted in the novel without overstating the narrative's tragic arc—an impressive first outing for Hage. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 04/16/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 277 pages - 978-0-88784-765-3
Paperback - 281 pages - 978-1-905847-38-9
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-06-147057-8
Open Ebook - 174 pages - 978-1-58642-159-5
Paperback - 273 pages - 978-0-88784-196-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-241-96492-7
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-88784-813-1
Open Ebook - 281 pages - 978-0-88784-852-0
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