Excerpt from De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

De Niro's Game

by Rawi Hage

De Niro's Game
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2007, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2008, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


at the juice bar, George and I drank mango topped with white cheese, honey, and nuts.

We sat and sipped our cocktails, licked our fingers, and talked about the gun, and how silent it was.

2

Ten thousand bombs had split the winds, and my mother was still in the kitchen smoking her long, white cigarettes. She was dressed in black from head to toe, mourning her father and mine. She boiled water on her gas stove, she cut meat on her meat board, and she puffed tobacco against our shattered wall and through our broken glass window. Here, in her kitchen, a bomb had landed and made a wide-open hole in the wall, giving us a splendid view of the vast sky. We wouldn’t fix it until winter, until the rain fell and washed away the soil above all the corpses we’d buried. Here in that kitchen my father had died; hers had died farther north.

when george paid his aunt a visit the next day, her car was parked in Chafiq Al-Azrak’s space.

Chafiq Al-Azrak came this morning, apologized, and offered to share the space, George’s aunt said, and played with her red-dyed hair. Aunt Nabila was in her mid-forties. She worked in a bank. Never married, flirtatious and voluptuous, she dressed in tight skirts, high heels, colourful makeup, and low-cut blouses that showed her generous cleavage jutting forward. She called George “Gargourty,” a nickname from childhood that made him feel uncomfortable.

I often passed by Aunt Nabila’s place looking for George. And she often opened her door in her nightgown, with a cigarette balanced on her round lips. I fantasized about her inviting me in for a coffee, offering me water at the kitchen table, kneeling in worship under my belly button, undoing my Japanese-made zipper, nipping at my secreted fluid, and sweetly, in her little coquettish voice, assuring me that George was not here. I sn’t he at work ? she would say. Gargourty is at work! George, my childhood friend, worked in a poker-machine joint. He cashed money from gamblers who lingered all day on machines that flicked green light on small screens. They pressed buttons and lost their wives’ jewels, their fathers’ houses and olive trees, their kids’ clothes. Everything they owned was sucked in, everything was extracted from their polyester pockets by aces and laughing jokers. George took their money and transferred the credit into their machines, sold them whisky and cigarettes, cleaned the bathroom, opened the door, lowered the air conditioning, swept the dust away, emptied the ashtrays, protected the place, and when the militiamen came he put the money in sealed bags, handed it to them, took his motorbike, and went home.

There must be a way to get a cut, he once said to me when I visited him. Are you in ?

Abou-Nahra will cut our heads off if we are caught stealing. Yeah, it’s risky, but there must be a way.

We will be fucking with the militia, I said.

George shrugged his shoulders, inhaled oily black hash, closed his eyes, and held the smoke in his thin chest. Then, slowly, with his eyes closed, he released his breath, extended his arm like a half crucifix, stretched his two fingers, and passed the hash on.

Bombs were falling like monsoon rain in distant India. I was desperate and restless, in need of a better job and money. I worked at the port, where I drove the winch. We emptied weapons from ships. The weapons were stamped with Hebrew, English, and Arabic serial numbers. Some shipments had oil, and we had to hook them up to pipes in trucks. Fruit came from Turkey. Seasick sheep with dripping noses and frightened sounds came also from Turkey. We emptied it all. When the shipments contained weapons, militia jeeps surrounded the whole area. The unloading was always done at night and no light was allowed, not even a cigarette. After a night shift I would go home and sleep through the day. My mother cooked and complained. The few jobs I got at the port were not enough for cigarettes, a nagging mother, and food. Where to go, who to rob, con, beg, seduce, strip, and touch ? I was sitting in my room, looking at a wall filled with foreign images, fading posters of teenage singers, blondes with shiny white teeth, Italian football players. I thought, Roma must be a good place to walk freely. The pigeons in the squares look happy and well fed. I thought about George’s proposal and the poker machines. I decided to pay him a visit at his work.

Excerpted from De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage © 2007 by Rawi Hage. Excerpted by permission of Steerforth Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.