Book Analysis: Deniro's Game
Deniro’s Game is a work of fiction about treachery, guilt and vengeance in the war-torn city of Beirut - Book Analysis: Deniro's Game introduction. It is the story of Bassam and George, best friends who grow up to become more independent as a result of the different incidents that take place throughout the novel. As ten thousand bombs land on Beirut and bullets pour like a monsoon rain on Lebanese soil, the characters betray the trust of not only their nation but even their beloved through the acts of murders, theft and adultery.
Eventually Bassam’s main purpose of life becomes his escape to find a safe haven in foreign land as his death becomes other people’s mission. Hage uses setting, vivid imagery and characterization to convey the hardships Bassam and George undergo to survive the war in Beirut as well as the crime filled streets of Paris. Throughout the course of Deniro’s Game, the war shapes the lives and personalities of the characters as their innocence quickly changes to deceitfulness as the characters get betrayed by loved ones.
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Bassam and George are having financial problems since they aren’t paid enough to support their families. “I was desperate and restless, in need of a better job and money. ” (Hage 19) Since they needed money so desperately, they decide to steal money from Abou Nahra’s casino. “There must be a way to get a cut he once said to me when I visited him? Are you in? ”(Hage 18). Even though Bassam and George know that Abou Nahra will cut their heads off if they “are caught stealing” because they “will be fucking with the militia,” (Hage 18) the childhood friends still betray Abou Nahra.
Eventually Khalil, Abou Nahra’s employee, found out about the theft and threatened them that he will tell Abou Nahra about it unless he was given a cut. “As we ran toward him, I could hear him screaming, He is hit, he is hit. Khalil was flung over George’s shoulders, bleeding, dripping blood along the tips of his fingers… No, he said, and looked at me with piercing eyes. I do not kill the bird and dance with its feathers” (Hage 64-65). George betrays Khalil by murdering him as he wanted to take revenge since Khalil found about deniro’s game.
Additionally, betraying a friend can be forgiven but treachery against your nation can never be forgiven. Bassam betrays his nation by murdering Rambo and stealing money from the casino. As a result, the nation goes on a manhunt for him which forces him to leave Lebanon. George is appointed the task to look for Bassam and bring him back to the government. George is stuck in a very frantic position as he doesn’t know if he should save his friend or be loyal to his country. “He had come to take me to the militia headquarters just before I was leaving Lebanon.
He picked me up in his car, and we drove below the Nabaa Bridge. Your brother was sent to take me back o my torturer, and then they would have killed me. But he said that he would give me a chance” (Hage 270). George jeopardizes his own life by giving Bassam a second chance. But as George does this he betrays his country by letting a criminal escape. In the novel, Deniro’s Game the major theme is betrayal as the characters deceive one another for money. Similarly George betrays his best friend Bassam by taking his girlfriend, Rana, away from him.
As Rana slowly realizes that George works for the militia, hangs around rich people and has a lot of money himself, she decides to betray her first love, Bassam. Bassam realizes that he has been betrayed by his girlfriend and his closest friend when Bassam says, “As I reached my street, from the corner of my eye I saw Rana leaving my building. I saw George leaving behind her, heading in a different direction. She looked back at him and fixed her hair. Then she gave him a sign with her hand and ducked her head into her shoulders, and slipped away fast, brushing against corners and the clandestine walls” (Hage 132).
As George betrays Bassam, Bassam betrays him in the same way by sleeping with his aunt. “It is me. Nabila. You are having nightmares. Look at you sweating… I slipped my hand onto her thigh, and she let me. I searched for her lips. She kissed me and breathed louder… I pulled her down, and she lay next to me while I grabbed her flesh with urgency of a hungry puppy” (Hage 160). Hage uses imagery in the quote further reveals the animal hidden deep within Bassam as he compares him to a hungry, flesh grabbing puppy.
Even though Bassam and George are childhood best friends, and despite of all the crimes have committed together they still end up betraying each other as they commit adultery when Bassam sleeps with George’s aunt, Nabila, and George sleeps with Bassam girlfriend, Rana. Bassam and George always dream to live in Beirut and go to Paris or Roma. But after Bassam betrays his country and loved ones through the acts of adultery, theft and murder, he can’t live in Beirut safely and peacefully any longer. While in the search for a safe place, Bassam decides to escape to Paris. Before Bassam eaves for Paris, George tells him stories about his life when he was at the border fighting for Lebanon. Bassam always liked listening to George’s stories but all he could now think about was going to Paris. “Then: I have to go, I said. I was no longer interested in hearing the sounds of slaughterhouses, the rush of thick eels, the fireworks. I could only hear waves slashing over the bridge, bouncing on the car windshield, moving toward my feet. ”(Hage 173) Bassam doesn’t care about George’s violent stories anymore and in a way betrays his best friend again by ignoring him.
In reference to the previous quote, Bassam losing interest in violent stories signifies that he is eager to escape the war-torn Beirut and live a peaceful life in Paris. As Bassam lives in Paris for a few days, he realizes that Paris isn’t peaceful at all but it is rather violent as a few strangers try to beat him when he is walking down the empty Paris streets. As Bassam meets George’s sister, Rhea, he falls in love with her. As Bassam beings to get involved with Rhea’s personal life, she makes him promise that he will keep away from her and problems. “I stomped on the sunglasses and broke them.
Then I rushed to the phone on the nearby table and pulled the wire from the jack. I tied Roland’s hand with wire and took his house keys from his pocket. I walked toward the door and opened it slowly. ” (Hage267) Bassam betrays Rhea’s trust by beating up Roland. Bassam further betrays Rhea by telling her truth about what actually happened to her brother. “He held the gun in his hand. Then he turned his face toward me, gave me a smile, and a shot went off. Rhea held her hand to her mouth and struggled to leave my embrace. You knew all this, she said. You knew. And you…” (Hage 270).
Even if Bassam told Rhea the truth at the end, she thinks he should have told her what had happened to her brother. This further signifies the betrayal of trust and endangers their friendship. The novel Deniro’s Game takes one on an exhilarating journey to the war-torn streets of Beirut in the center of a civil year. Furthermore, through the use of sensory imagery and characterization Hage portrays the impact that betraying the trust of one’s nation and loved ones can contain. As Bassam and George commit murder and treachery, they are left with a decision to either surviving the war in familiar grounds or escape to foreign lands.