Saturday, January 24, 2009

15 - In the Country of Men; Hisham Matar

In the Country of Men takes place in Libya, in the 1970's; a place that I know very little about. The narrator is nine-year-old Suleiman, describing the summer when his father's rejection of ruling government brings his family much pain. Suleiman understands very little of what is going on, and the author seemed to keep the story within what a nine-year-old would be able to grasp, yet allowing enough hints to give the reader a better understanding.
Young Suleiman struggles to decipher the complicated and unspoken rules of the adult world, a struggle that mirrors that of Libyans in the late 70s as they were being spied on and repressed by the government.

The hardest part about reading this book was watching the young boy struggle to understand what was going on. The book gets a bit repetitive: mothers alcoholism, the boy's dream of rescuing his mother, and sometimes the boy seemed wise beyond his years. I also did not care for the way the story jumped from a nine year old protagonist to a 24 year old at he end of the book. However, if you are looking for a decent book about Libya in the 70's, give this one a try and judge for yourself. This review is based on the audio version of this book.

RATING - 3.5/5 - COMPLETED - 1/24/09


  1. Sounds interesting. I like reading books set in Africa and written by African authors, their style is very different from the contemporary American fiction I think.

  2. I have this one in my TBR collection, waiting its turn. I love the premise of the novel. I am sorry to hear it gets a bit repetitive in spots.


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