De Niro's Game ed 1 /tp


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.


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

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

The excitement of Hage's action-packed plot is supplemented by his visually and viscerally descriptive language. ..

- January Magazine

A magnificent achievement. ..the work of a major literary talent.

- Dublin IMPAC Literary Award Jury

...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

De Niro's Game is a feverish nightmare of a book, written with a distinctly European flair. 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

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

...provides an essential historical context to current political turmoil in Lebanon. ..

- The Dominion

...provides an essential historical context to current political turmoil in Lebanon. ..

- Fast Forward Weekly

...the incredibly affecting tale of a young man's fight to remain sovereign, intellectually and politically. ..

- The Hour

[A] masterpiece. ..writing cannot really get much better than Hage's.

- Literary Review of Canada