Novelist Jonathan Lethem has become an evangelist in literary circles for a party game called "Mafia" that involves lies, deceit, and heavy doses of social paranoiaall of which are readily available at any serious Manhattan cocktail party. The game is played with twelve people, three of which, unbeknownst to everyone else, are designated "mafia." The mafia attempt to turn the rest of the group against each other as mafia suspects are voted out of the group. People that have played with Lethem find it a little disconcerting. The skill at psychological manipulation required to play well ("social torture," The Observer calls it) greatly exceeds that of the average Manhattan-variety social climber. The true protagonists are not to be trusted.
The Lying Game [Observer]