De Niro's Game (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
The title of this novel, De Niro’s Game, refers not only to the character of George, who is nicknamed De Niro after the American actor, but also to the suicidal Russian roulette that Robert De Niro’s character is forced to play in Michael Cimino’s 1978 film about the Vietnam War, The Deer Hunter. The title does not, however, simply refer to the game of Russian Roulette that will finish the story of George and Bassam. It also describes the situation of young men in a world in which survival seems to be increasingly an inexplicable matter of chance and in which the value of life is treated with a careless disregard. Additionally, it is a world in which violence is perceived as virtually the only effective solution to any problem, and although on one level the reckless young men are convinced of their invincibility, their irresponsible conductin a world without hope or optionstakes on a suicidal ideation.
The narrative explores the friendship of two Lebanese young men within this context. Bassam and George come of age in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. The militias that have taken over the city are little more than powerful criminal gangs; the city, besieged by bombs and bullets, has become not only a war zone but also an amoral, lawless space that easily accommodates theft and violence. As a result, the young men growing up in this place and time find they are becoming socialized into criminality.
Bassam is drawn...
(The entire section is 1789 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
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The Washington Post, June 24, 2008, p. C8.
(The entire section is 56 words.)