The God of War by Marisa Silver

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The year is 1978. Ares Ramirez, age 12, lives with his mother, Laurel, and his younger brother Malcolm in a trailer at the edge of the Salton Sea, an unintentionally man-made body of water in the middle of the Southern California desert. It is a desolate, forgotten place, whose inhabitants thrive amidst seemingly impossible circumstances.

Where birds fly by day across the desert sky, by night government fighter planes and helicopters make training runs using live ammunition, and an anonymous dead body floats in from the sea. These events inspire Ares, on the cusp of his adolescence, to enact elaborate fantasies of mortal combat. His membership in a troubled family marks Ares as a casualty of a different kind of war. Malcolm, age 7, is mentally handicapped, and his mother chooses not to do anything about it.

Ares' struggle with the burden of responsibility -- to himself and to others -- draws him into a world of drugs, violence, and sex that he is not prepared for, launching him into a very personal battle for his own identity, one that has a lethal outcome.

About Marisa Silver

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MARISA SILVER is the author of two novels, The God of War (a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist) and No Direction Home, and two story collections, Alone with You and Babe in Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles.
Published April 29, 2008 by Simon & Schuster. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Silver’s novel is full of looming menace—the pock-marked bleakness of the landscape (used at night for military practice), the violence Malcolm seems capable of (the school finds a shallow grave of birds he’s killed), the very real risk of Kevin, sociopathic and strung out on drugs—but perhaps th...

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The New York Times

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This novel follows a beleaguered family in the California desert.

Jul 06 2008 | Read Full Review of The God of War

Entertainment Weekly

The life of a boy named Ares changes forever the instant his baby brother, Malcolm, squirms out of his arms: ''He went down like a medicine ball.

May 02 2008 | Read Full Review of The God of War

Bookmarks Magazine

In her third book (after the novel No Direction Home and the short story collection Babe in Paradise), Marisa Silver takes an unsentimental look at a troubled boy on the cusp of adolescence.

Apr 29 2008 | Read Full Review of The God of War

In the eight fierce stories in her second collection, Alone with You, Marisa Silver explores the impact of collateral damage, whether sustained in war or in life.

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One awful day, a boy named Ares (after the Greek god of war) drops his baby brother on his head.

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