The God of War
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.
Marisa Silver discusses her novel The God of War
Reading Group Guide
The God of War is the latest novel from Marisa Silver, author of No Direction Home, and the story collection, Babe in Paradise. Silver’s fluid writing and vibrant descriptions merge to tell the moving story of two brothers; a story of loyalty, love, survival, and guilt, and how each of these things bind us. Twelve year-old Ares feels responsible for his mentally handicapped younger brother, Malcolm. Left to his own devices by their single mother, he attempts taking his first steps toward adulthood but finds himself irrevocably tethered to his family. Something in his past, a searing guilt that won’t let relent, keeps Ares forever looking out for his brother. The story, set in 1978 at the edge of the Salton Sea near California’s Mojave Desert, encompasses the beauty and harshness of its rugged setting as it races to its inevitable conclusion.
Questions for discussion:
1. This story takes place on the desolate terrain near the see more