Rawi Hage — De Niro’s Game (2006)

Setting: Civil war-era 1980s Beirut

What it’s about: How to make the choice to go into exile. Bassam watches his friend George become a kingpin in the underworld, while he makes his own moral compromises to finance his escape to another country. A story full of anti-heroes.

You’ll like this if you liked: Anything that pits two brothers/friends against each other: such as The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The definitive book from Canada? See also Timothy Findley’s The Wars: a novel about WWI, shell-shock and the horror of trench warfare split between training camps in Canada and trenches of the western front. Powerful naturalistic writing and the bonds between man and nature that persevere even in the most inhumane situations. Probably the most well-known, and the finest, Canadian novel.

My rating: *

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