De Niro's Game
Written by Rawi Hage
Introduction by Colm Toibin
Publication Date January 01, 2006
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.
Winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2008
Winner of the QWF McAuslan First Book Prize 2006
Winner of the QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction 2006
Short-listed for the Governor General's Literary Awards: Fiction 2006
Short-listed for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2007
Short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2006
Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war. His debut novel, De Niro's Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was a finalist for numerous prestigious national and international awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award, and has been translated into several languages and published around the world. His second novel, Cockroach, won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Rawi Hage lives in Montreal.
Colm Toibin is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and essayist. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York.