De Niro's Game
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De Niro's Game

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,554 ratings  ·  185 reviews
"De Niro's Game" plunges readers into the timely story of two young men caught in Lebanon's civil war. Bassam and George, best friends in childhood, 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,...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Zoland Books (first published 2006)
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I picked this up from the "new/7 day checkout" section at the front of the library... a favorite place to pick out books on a whim. I am glad I did.

I was very impressed by the poetic prose, the dreamlike quality of the characters experiences. The book is about 2 young men in Lebanon, and the twisted life that they try to live while running under the bombs. I really felt how a person could become quite numb living in such an unreal (or perhaps all too real) situation. It was darkly beautiful and...more
The book ended. That was the only disappointing thing about it. I enjoyed reading this book so much to the point where I subconsciously impeded reaching the last chapter.
Every time I come to exhaustively describe a war -the drastic change in the atmosphere that makes the country seem like a whole other one which we are not familiar with, how mothers, children, and fathers feel when they lose a loved one- , I render myself speechless. But the fact that Rawi Hage is able to depict the war with su...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
Jun 27, 2010 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: Christine Patten
Shelves: maple-flavoured
From the first pages, it is clear that Rawi Hage can write, that he can paint pictures with words.

Inside their houses, the impoverished women carefully, economically, dripped water from red plastic buckets over their brown skins in ancient Turkish bathtubs, washing away the dust, the smells, the baklava-thin crust, the vicious morning gossip over tiny coffee cups, the poverty of their husbands, the sweat under their unshaven armpits. They washed like meticulous Christian cats that lick their pa...more
Nojood Alsudairi
سحقت الحرب اللبنانية حتى النفس الإنسانية في الشباب. فترة من تاريخ لبنان ربما لو قرانا عنها عدد من الكتب لما فهمناها كما جاءت في هذه الرواية لبساطة الطرح. كم تعاطفت مع شخصية جلال لضياع هويتها بين جاسوس وسكرتيرة. لم تنجُ الفتاة الشرعية أيضا من نفس ازمة الهوية التي عانى منها أخاها وإن كانت ردة فعلها تختلف. لولا الكثير من الصور غير المرغوبة لكانت الرواية القريبة للكمال من وجهة نظري.
شكرا شيماء على إصرارك على قراءتي للرواية وإهداؤها لي.
أوصلني هذا الكتاب لرقم 1000
Mohamed Al Marzooqi
في روايته، الحائزة على العديد من الجوائز الرفيعة في كندا وأوروبا، ينشغل رواي حاج ليس فقط برصد التفاصيل اليومية لمدينة تعيش في ظل حربٍ مسعورة (الحرب الأهليّة في بيروت)، إنما أيضًا برصد التحولات التي تحدثها تلك الحرب في بنية الفرد النفسية والاجتماعية، وكيف تمكنت هذه الحرب المجنونة من تحويل مراهقين وأطفال إلى مجرمين

لعبة دي نيرو" رواية أحداث قبل أن تكون رواية شخصيات، أي أن الشخصيات لا تنمو بشكلٍ تراكميّ كما هو سائد، إنّما الحدث هو الذي ينمو وهو الذي سيغيّر في الشخصيات وفي مصائرها. بالطبع لا ت...more
Mar 12, 2010 Baselkaskas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
إلى أين أنت ذاهب يا سيدي؟
إلى روما

مابين لبنان وروما أحداث أبدع الراوي "راوي" في نثرها بتناسق مبدع يبقيك متحفزاً حتى نهاية الرواية، ومابين حدث وآخر تفتح فمك رعباً، أو تدمع عينيك ألماً وحزناً
كيف للحرب أن تخلف أضراراً أكثر مما وصفه
كيف للحرب أن تجعلك تدخن سيجاراً وتشرب عصيراً متجولاً في شوارع تنظر للقذائف بطرف عين وكأنها مجرد حمامة نزلت من أعلى لتجمع بعض الأكل !!
كيف للحرب أن تكون أقسى من ذلك
مرعبة هي تفاصيل الحرب
ومهولٌ أن يحكيها شخص كان آخر همه تلك الحرب
مفجعة تلك الوحدة التي يكونها رجال الجيش ليكونون...more
Rawi Hage's use of language is superb. He successfully melds magical and wondrous metaphors and allusions into a taut, tightly-wound narrative that is brutal, blunt and tears away human artifice. Bassam is an ambivalent character; I didn't love or hate him, but I felt great pity and sadness for his character that had been defaced by the rigours of the prolonged war.

Many passages I read, and then had to immediately re-read. I love this one:

He pulled out a small bag, and we rolled oily hash into a...more
I expected a lot from this book, but frankly I couldn't wait for it to end. It is well written, no doubt about that, and Hage has a unique way of conveying the voices of characters and the sequence of events which I found to be intriguing and compelling. However the story as a whole was somewhat lacking. There is an emptiness at times between the pages where I felt there should have been maybe a deeper rendition of the main character's thoughts. The story didn't fulfill my expectations and that...more
Rawi Hage is a terrific prose stylist, but this novel doesn't really deserve the sort of acclaim it's gotten. The characters are mostly indistinct and unremarkable, and while war-torn Beirut is fabulously portrayed, in rich detail and with a really fine handling of the political and moral complexities of that war, there are few portions of the book that really work on the whole. I will give Hage credit for never being trite in the way it's so easy to be trite when writing about these things (see...more
Sue Smith
I don't know what to think about this book. Truthfully - for the most part - I found I was floundering with it. The subject was something I have no basis of experience with to judge it against, and that shouldn't really be a reason to completely pan a book on. But it's based on a reality that is in the here and now of people's lives and I'm woefully - and thankfully - out of such day to day gorilla life experiences. I know it exists, I know some people grow up with this now as a norm and it's al...more
Rawi Hage's De Niro's Game is a rare creature, a first novel that hits it out of the park. Few first novels are so assured or effective.

The novel is set in Beirut, just before and during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. George and Bassam are two petty street thugs eking out a living in Christian East Beirut by any means they can. Bassam dreams of escaping to Rome, while George is only interested in making himself more comfortable. They can't escape the reach of the militia, itself a crim...more
De Niro's game reaches right into the heart of war. What strange bedfellows a tragic series of events can make. In war there is both the inner and outer destruction that takes place. The psychological undoing of people who are in a war ravaged country is really what this story is about. Rawi Hage takes us to the limits of destruction as he gets inside the mind of Bassam the young man and main character in De Niro's Game. Bassam sees the world from a traumatized state of mind; he truly believes...more
I checked out Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game from the library because I had spent an hour or so checking out “best book lists” in an effort to overcome my recent spate of terrible reads. It showed up on several lists, and without reading a plot summary, I decided I’d give it a try. I think from the title I expected that the book would be about a game show, or maybe the actor - Robert De Niro. Wrong!

The novel centers on the first person protagonist, Bassam, as he tries to escape Beirut during the Leb...more
Megan Howe
I picked this at random from the library shelf and was pretty amazed by it. Set in Beirut during the civil war, it's brutal but beautiful. A disturbing and desperate story of two young men, childhood best friends, in the midst of a war which I know very little about. Wonderful writing. Here's an example:
"Ten thousand bombs had fallen and I was waiting for death to come and scoop its daily share from a bowl of limbs and blood. I walked down the street under the falling bombs. The streets were emp...more
War is bad. War told from the other side is usually worse. Rawi Hage's use of language is indeed a knockout. It's lyrical and graphic at the same time. Despite how the characters were portrayed in the book, it was venting out ample of anger and disgust on being stuck in a war, while the plot and the ending.. that was just something indeed.

I wonder if someone will ever consider making a movie out of this book. It would be interesting to see the interpretation, although the new hot spots in Baghda...more
I read this for my bookclub. I am supposed to lead the discussion and I'm not sure what to say. I guess this is a warm-up. It made me interested in knowing more about Lebanon and who is fighting who and why, but it was quite a harsh book, not the usual romantic war story I like. The characters were not at all sympathetic, but also were. I thought the end was a bit unnecessarily and unexpectedly dramatic (obviously I had not read the description on this website for example) after the more realist...more
How does your life change when war breaks out all around you? In the very city of your childhood? With bombs falling and violence erupting on every street corner, best friends Bassam and George must find a way to survive the war-torn streets of Beirut during Lebanon’s civil war. The physical and emotional effects of war are conveyed through this compelling story of the choices available and how these young men find themselves on two very different paths to survival. Particularly poignant conside...more
A grim story with violence and emotions that have been battered so much that they no longer emote but with a hint of hope to end it.

At times I loved the poetic writing and the repetiton and the destruction in denominations of 10,000 but other times I found the poetry confusing and the repetition, well repetitive. I think the style reflects the story however, that poetry can be found in turmoil but that leads to confusion and living a childhood through civil war is probably very repititious and w...more
The Lebanon-related parts were great. An apt description which makes you boil. However, towards the end, the level of mastery is gone; the connection you felt with the Beirut Narrative is gone and the Third part (Paris) feels as if it's being loaded more than it can handle. Nevertheless, it's a jolting injection of the complexity of the Lebanese Civil War, even amongst friends and allies. A good and quick read without a doubt, perfect for being a travel book.
Adam  McPhee
I guess you can't judge a book by it's title, either. I was put off of reading this for such a long time because the title sounds so dumb, so Hollywood.

This is a novel about a small time thug named Bassam trying to escape East Beirut during the war, preferably for Rome. Bassam's best friend and cousin George (with the eponymous nickname of De Niro) has no interest in leaving Beirut, and instead he gets in heavy with a Christian militia. They both get involved in a number of petty schemes in atte...more
تعجبني الروايات التي تثير في التساؤلات وتدفعني للبحث والتقصي
الحرب في لبنان وتلك البشاعة والفظاعة
حين يعبث بالبنادق و يصبح القتل اعتياديا
حين ينقص الماءوقبلها الأحباب
رغم كل تلك الفواجع أتساءل هل الحرب تبرر لنا الخيانة وانعدام الانسانية
في رأيي من كان صاحب مبدأ بحق إما أن يعيش على مبادئه أو يموت من أجلها
من يدري إن كان مصيري مثل مصيرهم هل كنت سأثبت أم لا
الحمد لله على نعمة الأمن والأمان

سمية عبد العزيز
OMG, the greatest novel ever !
wow wow wow !!

هذه الرواية عظيمة
الترجمة، اللغة، الأسلوب، الفلسفة
كل شيء فيها سحرني

تدور أحداثها خلال الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية من الجانب المسيحي
اسمها الحقيقي "لعبة دي نيرو" نسبة إلى صديق الممثل آل باتشينو لكن لا أعلم لم أعيد تسمية الرواية بعد ترجمتها

هذا الكاتب مبهر
وأنا خجلى أن يكون هذا هو تعليقي عن رواية كهذه
قد أعود لكتابة عن الرواية نفسها وجمالياتها لا عن إنطباعي عنها فقط
First of all it's a great book. I really liked and I highly recommend it for readers who seek to have a look at life during a civil war. Hage's style is exaptional, with few of those lebanese expressions which make the book a lot more familiar.
Even tho I don't like long description paragraphs but Hage's make you part of the story.
The beginning of the book is simply amazing, it gives you a slight idea of the lebanese during this war, how they use to deal with bombs, death, funerals... And most o...more
The writing was really beautiful, but by page 150, I was still waiting to be engaged by the story, care about what would happen, or even just plain connect with the protagonist. It never happened. I started skipping passages because I just didn't care.
Amazing talent. I dreamt about the characters while and after reading Deniros Game. Can't wait to read his latest - Carnival.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Adams
Fellow Montrealer Rawi Hage's first novel, "De Niro's Game" is not a comfortable read, especially for those of us who had family and friends in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, but I was riveted to the book from start to finish. Hage is a skillful and often poetic writer, especially when it comes to creating believable characters in the center of what is often an unbelievably horrible situation. You may not like them, but you won't forget them. His control of the action was complete, and hi...more
This book drew me with it's stark allusions to bombs, blood and things overseas, promising to be shocking just knowing the scenes are taking place in the east.

I begin to get bored with him - thinking 'what is this - he's overwriting this thing'. What is with this so many bombs falling, falling, falling . . . then the story started.

So many times I wanted to reach in there, grab him by the scruff of his shirt and remove him from the scene, put him in England, in France, Canada - somewhere sensib...more
Imran K
De Niro’s Game Review
De Niro’s Game written by Rawi Hage is a thriller than draws the reader in and holds their interest throughout. Between the various bombings and drug related scenes the mood becomes darker and the main characters Bassam and George become more hostile .
The casual writing style and blunt language makes the reader feel like this is a re-telling of a story instead of a novel. It starts off with a short poetic verse then goes into the story, making the mood feel very grim from...more
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Rawi Hage is a Lebanese Canadian writer and photographer.

Born in Beirut, Hage grew up in Lebanon and Cyprus. He moved to New York City in 1982, and after studying at the New York Institute of Photography, relocated to Montreal in 1991, where he studied arts at Dawson College and Concordia University. He subsequently began exhibiting as a photographer, and has had works acquired by the Canadian Mus...more
More about Rawi Hage...
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“الطيور تحلّق وكنت أتوق بدوري إلى التحليق بعيدًأ” 8 likes
“لم أكن أهرب من الحرب ، بل من فيروز وأغانيها” 6 likes
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