In the Country of Men PDF/EPUB Í In the PDF \

In the Country of Men PDF/EPUB Í In the PDF \

In the Country of Men ❰Ebook❯ ➨ In the Country of Men Author Hisham Matar – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Libya 1979 Nine year old Suleiman’s days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood outings to the ruins surrounding Tripoli games with friends played under the burning sun exotic gifts fr Libya Nine year old Suleiman’s Country of Epub â days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood outings to the ruins surrounding Tripoli games with friends played under In the PDF \ the burning sun exotic gifts from his father’s constant business trips abroad But his nights have come to revolve around his mother’s increasingly disturbing bedside stories full the Country of Epub Ý of old family bitterness And then one day Suleiman sees his father across the suare of a busy marketplace his face wrapped in a pair of dark sunglasses Wasn’t he supposed to be away on business yet again Why is he going into that strange building with the green shutters Why did he lie Suleiman is soon caught up in a world he cannot hope to understand—where the sound of the telephone ringing becomes a portent of grave danger; where his mother frantically burns his father’s cherished books; where a stranger full of sinister uestions sits outside in a parked car all day; where his best friend’s father can disappear overnight next to be seen publicly interrogated on state televisionIn the Country of Men is a stunning depiction of a child confronted with the private fallout of a public nightmare But above all it is a debut of rare insight and literary grace.


10 thoughts on “In the Country of Men

  1. okyrhoe okyrhoe says:

    The child narrator’s point of view is only the tip of the iceberg It’s as if the boy’s view of the world is warped by the surface of the water Actually Suleiman isn’t a particularly likeable character On the contrary the reader is discouraged from identifying with the first person narrator for he recounts episodes of his boyhood in which he indulges in inexplicable cruel behavior which contrasts sharply with the boy's childish innocence in the face of evil and deceit While the book’s language is pretty much straightforward and uncomplicated to the point that at first I thought this wasn’t going to be worth my while as I read on became engrossed by the subversive elements of the plot and the constant interplay of the two temporal pasts of the narrative Najwa the mother’s past vs Suleiman the boy’s past In the Country of Men has been criticized by Arab commentators for being politically vague for depicting the opposition to the Libyan regime as a slipshod endeavor in effect caricaturing the resistance movement IMO this is what gives the book its humanity and poignancy The novel's primary critiue of contemporary Arab society is that this country of ‘men’ no longer operates according to ‘manly’ codes of conduct All sense of justice faith honor respect seems to have decayed This can be seen in the juxtaposition between the strict moral codes women must still adhere to a seemingly anachronistic tradition that persists in a society whose ruling regime loudly proclaims a total break with the past the ushering in of the ‘modern’ the ‘revolutionary’ etc We observe that the most devout adherents of The Guide are men who unashamedly forego ideological principles when it is convenient for themselves or for their superiors Um Masood can be bribed by a cake topped with strawberries; the secret police try to score with Suleiman’s mother in exchange for overlooking the ‘shame’ of her drinking binges And despite all the macho talk of capturing the ‘traitors’ the pistol toting Sharief promptly abandons his idealistic mission when the ‘mighty hand’ decides to spare Suleiman’s father However the opposition isn't any better Najwa’s brother despite an American wife and a comfortable life abroad reverts to the old ways when it comes to dealing with the matter of the family’s honour being compromised by the young girl Faraj Suleiman’s father who is apparently one of the main financial benefactors of the opposition has married an underage girl he has never seen before and even went so far as to deflower her as she lay unconscious with fear on her wedding night in accordance with tradition Who better then to understand the futility of the 'resistance' than Najwa Suleiman’s mother As a woman as a victim of patriarchal status uo she is aware that her husband’s struggle with the totalitarian regime is a futile battle The system cannot be overcome when the men fighting it are themselves oppressors And this is what In the Country of Men illustrates by intertwining the two narratives the subjugation of Najwa to the rule of men and the subjugation of Faraj to the rule of the regimeNajwa’s adolescent ‘crime’ is that she was found talking to a boy in a public café The ‘High Council’ of male family elders acted with the ‘efficiency rivaling that of a German factory’ in meting out the punishment after a closed ‘trial’ in which she is not allowed to come to her own defense Her sentence begins with incarceration beatings a forced marriage denial of access to books and concludes with the rape on her wedding night She remembers “When I got home every light in my life was put out” Years later her husband’s fate echoes her own oppression At the moment of Faraj’s arrest she immediately understands the enormity of his predicament the possibility of being placed ‘behind the sun for ever’ His capture by the Revolutionary Committee men is followed by events paralleling her own submission a mock trial incarceration beatings forced confession forced pledge of loyalty deprived of his books release The ironic twist in this role reversal is that it is the woman who now holds the trump card She makes the morally superior choice to save him at all costs whereas no man or woman not even her own mother was willing to rescueprotect her In the country of men it is the woman who saves the day overcoming the ‘cowardly’ stance of the Scheherazades past and present idealistsfantasists who choose slavery over risking all for freedom Najwa negotiates with her neighbor Ustath Jafer the until then much feared highranking Mokhabarat official and pledges obedience to the regime on behalf of her husband as she had once given her own wedding pledge to him in order to ‘save’ her family’s honor ‘A word had been given and word had been received men’s words that could never be taken back or exchanged’Finally I want to point out the crowning ironic symbol The white handkerchief a testament of Najwa's virgin ‘honor’ upon her bridal bed becomes the white sheet on the mirror protecting the ‘violated’ husband from his own reflected image upon his return home a badly bruised and broken man


  2. Sue Sue says:

    From my blog written by Hisham Matar and published in February 2007 by The Dial Press This is Matar's bio as written on the end flapHisham Matar was born in 1970 in New York city to Libyan parents and spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo He lives in London and is currently at work on his second novel In the Country of Men will be published in twenty two languagesThis was a difficult book to read not because of the density of the writing dense it was not but because the characters drew you into their lives in such a way that you wanted to but couldn't dialog with them The story is told through the eyes and voice of a 9 year old boy Suleiman as he describes how he sees what's happening to his family his mother his father and his uncle and their immediate friends and relatives in Libya in 1979The story is tragic in many ways but life is life and tragedy is part of it You have to take it as it is because it's the only way to get to know appreciate and respect those whose lives are different from our ownJust the other evening a group of us were talking about what we perceived as the tragic lives of an elderly couple we all know a couple who never has enough money to buy healthy food or clothing and who lives in substandard housing Yet you can't go in and fix the situation or even try unless you're asked because the damage to human dignity when you try to make a happily ever after according to our own individual standards is often damaging than the tragic circumstances themselvesThus is was with this book I kept wanting to explain things to this little boy to tell him to grow up and learn what it means to keep a secret to trust his family even though it seemed that all the world was falling apart So much I wanted to tell him I wanted to hold him in my arms with my hands close to his mouth to keep him uiet perhaps in the way you might do with a small child I wanted Suleiman to be mature than he was and I wondered why he wasn't I wanted to tell his mother that she needed to help him grow up by explaining than she did The book made me want to get involved and fix thingsBut this was Suleiman's life his mother's life his father's life his uncle's life and the lives of their friends and relatives and I could only observe It's better that way We can't rule the universe; and even if we could our disasters might be worse than the real ones we perceiveThe book was disturbing but I'm glad I read it The story will stay with me for a long time I'm glad Hisham Matar told the story in a way I could read and feel it I am better even though sadder for having experienced a bit of Suleiman's life Like the rest of us who survive childhood and Suleiman did we go on and we make of our lives what we can the best we can I hope he is doing well


  3. Jeremiah Seyrak Jeremiah Seyrak says:

    This is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read Reading this book has also brought to life all the stories my dad used to tell me about what it was like to live in Egypt with its ineuality dictatorship governments and that your every action is monitored It may sound like something from Orwell 1984 but it’s not it’s the harsh reality for many living in a region where prosperity and success is granted to a very very small select few while the majority of the population can barely afford to eat three suare meals or where the majority can’t even read because it isn’t a priority for the government It’s a place where you will never get the same opportunities that I am lucky to haveI feel very privileged to live where I do after reading this story


  4. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    I began by reading The Return Fathers Sons and the Land in Between and I wanted In the Country of Men by the same author is fiction with a strong autobiographical basis Having read the two books in this order one can easily differentiate between fictional and non fictional elements The two books are not the same; reading them both is not repetitive In this book we look at a young Libyan boy growing up under addafi's military dictatorship The year is 1979 and the boy's father is a dissident fighting for change We see through the eyes of a nine year old The boy is trying to understand his parents' troubled relationship He is trying to understand the world around him It is a coming of age story about a young boy who wants to be a man still loves his mother deeply with the immature love of a child and yet also loves admires and respects his father Growing up is about growing independent and the book shows this with a deft eye We observe the boy’s relationships with classmates neighbors and family The ride is emotional so observe is in fact the wrong word The book shines in how it so accurately and so heartrendingly shows his innocence and his growing awareness of an adult world where opposition has dire conseuences What do you choose Are you uiet do you say nothing do you stay in line do you follow under the shelter of the wall or do you oppose and put both yourself and your family in danger And if your mother and father see this differently can you not understand both But still you are only nine The lines moved me If I write them here will one grasp their poignancy The novel ends with his mother straightening his collar This brought tears to my eyes The audiobook is narrated by Khalid Abdallah Many will love his narration because he dramatizes with fervor I prefer to hear every word spoken clearly rather than having them jumbled in expressions of anger sadness and frenzy I'd rather figure out for myself words' emotional contentThe book emphasizes the emotional turmoil of living under addafi’s reign of terror than focusing on historical content


  5. Margitte Margitte says:

    The book is once again a narrative told by the people of a country about their country for their country and the worldAs communism is dying around the world and the effects it had on people's lives are appearing and all over the planet the reader is drawn into this story by the nine year old Suleima writing about his life in Libya and what happened to his nuclear family the extended family the neighbor and friends in 1979 during the regime of Mohammar Khadafi His dad Faraj is a successful businessman who did nothing unacceptable when he raped his unconscious fifteen year old virgin bride Najwa on their wedding night since it was totally fine in their male dominated culture But for the unhappy unwilling bride it created years of bitterness which she had to address on her own through her secret martini addiction and cigarettes Suleima witnesses her struggle as well as his father's political struggle and it has an effect on his inexperienced young thoughts and decisions He learns how to recognize danger but also misinterprets people's intentions towards him resulting in him betraying people he loved the most without knowing it The boy tells three people's stories in one narrative His own his mother's and his father's It is the oppressed Najwa his mother who ended up resolving their situation and change their livesAn excellent read


  6. Nada Elfeituri Nada Elfeituri says:

    I'm a Libyan so as soon as I heard of the existence of this book I ran to get it There aren't many Libyan authors because as usual of Gadhafi so I have respect for the ones out there My expectations for this book were really high After the revolution any bit of culture that was Libya related was treated like gold I knew a lot of people who loved this book so I guess I built it up in my head to be a masterpiece or somethingUnfortunately it didn't meet up to my ridiculous fantasies The story is told from the point of the view of the main protagonist a nine year boy named Suleiman While the portrayal of life under Gadhafi was accurate it was told through the impatient and shallow perspective of a child The story didn't really have a plot it was a short memoir More than once I was reminded of The Kite Runner albeit with stilted dialogue and a slower pace A lot of elements confused me like the vaguely Oedipal relationship with the his mother the fact that no one every explained to him what was going on how he would begin narrating an event and then abruptly stop and move on to something else What I'm trying to say is without blatantly insulting a fellow Libyan is that the book was interesting in the fact that it is one of the few books that speak from a Libyan point of view but as a novel is wasn't particularly engaging


  7. Connie G Connie G says:

    Suleiman was nine years old in 1979 Libya His father was active politically in the underground movement opposing uddafi's dictatorship His mother fluctuated between burying her regrets and fears with her medicine and trying to keep her family safeThe telephone was bugged a neighbor was executed his father's life was in danger The young boy was trying to understand what he observed what he was told and what he fearedThe book is told from the point of view of a nine year old child in a terribly stressful situation Suleiman didn't always make the best decisions but his world was falling apart and he didn't know who he could trust This is a thoughtful compassionate fictional book written by an author whose father was also a political prisoner


  8. Kyriakos Sorokkou Kyriakos Sorokkou says:

    AFRICAN BOOKS MARATHON BOOK 3TITLE In the Country of MenAUTHOR Hisham MatarCOUNTRY Libya I chose this book because it takes place in Libya of 1979 My father was working in Bengazi 2nd largest city in Libya in 1979 and things he told me where present in this bookPolicemen everywhere; in shops in the streets phone calls were usually tracked you had to be careful of what you were saying your posture and attitude197910 years 1969 after Muammar addafi's bloodless coup d'état and we see life in Libya under addafi The Guide through the eyes of nine year old SuleimanSeeing Libya through the eyes of a young boy is like seeing an iceberg above the sea level You only see a small percentage What's below is something larger and complexThe boy's narration; although we understand it is narrated by Suleiman in retrospective now a 24 year old and as a grown up man can give information and description that what we might expect from a 9 year old is still a boy's narration and we feel as outsiders We don't know why A' is considered a traitor and why B' was hanged and why C' escaped Libya The boy narrator leaves a lot to the imagination I can't say that nothing really happens A lot of things happen but they are presented as trivial every day events and the whole story feels like a soap opera where there's no much development of characters and the plot takes a long time to develop and when it does it's barely noticeable There's no real climax or denouement just several smaller climaxes and denouementsSuleiman is not a 100% likeable character he betrays people around him he tells secrets of his family to random people he can be violent sometimes usually kicking and throwing stones he has an Oedipal relationship with his mother which is severed every time his father is at home he feels resentment against others for reasons unexplained and many When he discovers that his father is not on a trip abroad but he actually stayed in Tripoli he feels betrayed by his father's lie and now he begins to understand when the grown ups lie to him and demands explanations usually through the medium of tantrums Suddenly the wider world becomes a frightening place where parents lie and uestions go unanswered and this last applies to the reader tooTo sum up the plot had an open beginning and ending and a straightforward plot didn't love it but didn't hate it either so I feel I should give this book a 35 stars My 1st contact with Libya and certainly not the lastYou can see the complete list of my African Books here


  9. Soumen Daschoudhury Soumen Daschoudhury says:

    Betrayal A stab in the back If devoid of conscience it is free of hurt; else you can never free yourself from the crushing ugly rock of repentance of self pity Did little Suleiman a mere nine year old child know that he was betraying the ones he loved the most murdering the hopes of a rebellion a fight for a cause a secret mission a revolution to eradicate another Was there a realization even a tiny bit of shame when he did so And for what this heinous misdeed It isn't easy for a child to cope when the fatal realization dawns on him that his small world that he breathes in is built on a plinth of glorious lies Is his Baba what he veritably knows him to be Why does he leave them so freuently when he knows that Mama falls ill whenever he abandons them Why can’t he be a simple man like Ustath Rashid his best friends’ father Left alone to be the man of the house he is laden with his incapacitated Mama’s impressionable stories of her past tales of woe and oppression a child should never discover A boundary of hatred engulfs him when he realizes that his Baba has lied to him to his Mama; what is this secret he can’t be told about The internal turmoil lurking in a child’s mind can turn him into a monster a fire breathing deadly ogre surpassing all confines of treachery Hisham Matar’s story is based in Libya during the trying times of Gadaffi’s revolutionary regime It is a crushing tale of clandestine rebellion against this regime by a handful of comrades who strive for a better Libya a free Libya lacking in oppression and dictatorship It is the story of young Suleiman’s ugly and blatant utterance of truth his gruesome effort of disentangling himself and breaking free from the cosmos of lies built around him But truth comes at a price at a devastating price The writing lacks poetry in fact is bland It is plainly evident that the author thinks in his native language and what you read is a literal translation You will inadvertently compare the story with Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ The stories from this part of the world are turning out into cliches but where the writing lacks in color it compensates in its horrific simplicity and grotesue threadbare incidents of cruelty Not for a moment did I feel any sympathy for the child; in fact I have to vulgarly admit that I hated him Throttling freedom and strangling views under the veil of ideologies isn't manly at all


  10. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    Some authors make a political statement with their stories powerful because of the emotional connections we make as readers to the circumstances In this case and despite the multiple awards and award nominations I felt the story was a thin veil over circumstances that the author wanted to talk about The nine year old makes confusing decisions isn't afraid when a normal child would be leading to destruction around him He felt emotionally distant At the same time the author ends up not giving the reader very much background information on what is actually going on since he tries to keep it to the world of that same nine year old I'd have to go read another book to understand the context I would prefer if it was all included hereAt the same time I wonder if that was the author's intent to portray the confusion a child would feel during war revolution and oppression In his small universe the parts of life he depends on family friends school are all disrupted by forces he isn't sure if he should fear or show loyalty to He suspects his Dad may be a traitor what is a child to do when he isn't told everything


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10 thoughts on “In the Country of Men

  1. okyrhoe okyrhoe says:

    The child narrator’s point of view is only the tip of the iceberg It’s as if the boy’s view of the world is warped by the surface of the water Actually Suleiman isn’t a particularly likeable character On the contrary the reader is discouraged from identifying with the first person narrator for he recounts episodes of his boyhood in which he indulges in inexplicable cruel behavior which contrasts sharply with the boy's childish innocence in the face of evil and deceit While the book’s language is pretty much straightforward and uncomplicated to the point that at first I thought this wasn’t going to be worth my while as I read on became engrossed by the subversive elements of the plot and the constant interplay of the two temporal pasts of the narrative Najwa the mother’s past vs Suleiman the boy’s past In the Country of Men has been criticized by Arab commentators for being politically vague for depicting the opposition to the Libyan regime as a slipshod endeavor in effect caricaturing the resistance movement IMO this is what gives the book its humanity and poignancy The novel's primary critiue of contemporary Arab society is that this country of ‘men’ no longer operates according to ‘manly’ codes of conduct All sense of justice faith honor respect seems to have decayed This can be seen in the juxtaposition between the strict moral codes women must still adhere to a seemingly anachronistic tradition that persists in a society whose ruling regime loudly proclaims a total break with the past the ushering in of the ‘modern’ the ‘revolutionary’ etc We observe that the most devout adherents of The Guide are men who unashamedly forego ideological principles when it is convenient for themselves or for their superiors Um Masood can be bribed by a cake topped with strawberries; the secret police try to score with Suleiman’s mother in exchange for overlooking the ‘shame’ of her drinking binges And despite all the macho talk of capturing the ‘traitors’ the pistol toting Sharief promptly abandons his idealistic mission when the ‘mighty hand’ decides to spare Suleiman’s father However the opposition isn't any better Najwa’s brother despite an American wife and a comfortable life abroad reverts to the old ways when it comes to dealing with the matter of the family’s honour being compromised by the young girl Faraj Suleiman’s father who is apparently one of the main financial benefactors of the opposition has married an underage girl he has never seen before and even went so far as to deflower her as she lay unconscious with fear on her wedding night in accordance with tradition Who better then to understand the futility of the 'resistance' than Najwa Suleiman’s mother As a woman as a victim of patriarchal status uo she is aware that her husband’s struggle with the totalitarian regime is a futile battle The system cannot be overcome when the men fighting it are themselves oppressors And this is what In the Country of Men illustrates by intertwining the two narratives the subjugation of Najwa to the rule of men and the subjugation of Faraj to the rule of the regimeNajwa’s adolescent ‘crime’ is that she was found talking to a boy in a public café The ‘High Council’ of male family elders acted with the ‘efficiency rivaling that of a German factory’ in meting out the punishment after a closed ‘trial’ in which she is not allowed to come to her own defense Her sentence begins with incarceration beatings a forced marriage denial of access to books and concludes with the rape on her wedding night She remembers “When I got home every light in my life was put out” Years later her husband’s fate echoes her own oppression At the moment of Faraj’s arrest she immediately understands the enormity of his predicament the possibility of being placed ‘behind the sun for ever’ His capture by the Revolutionary Committee men is followed by events paralleling her own submission a mock trial incarceration beatings forced confession forced pledge of loyalty deprived of his books release The ironic twist in this role reversal is that it is the woman who now holds the trump card She makes the morally superior choice to save him at all costs whereas no man or woman not even her own mother was willing to rescueprotect her In the country of men it is the woman who saves the day overcoming the ‘cowardly’ stance of the Scheherazades past and present idealistsfantasists who choose slavery over risking all for freedom Najwa negotiates with her neighbor Ustath Jafer the until then much feared highranking Mokhabarat official and pledges obedience to the regime on behalf of her husband as she had once given her own wedding pledge to him in order to ‘save’ her family’s honor ‘A word had been given and word had been received men’s words that could never be taken back or exchanged’Finally I want to point out the crowning ironic symbol The white handkerchief a testament of Najwa's virgin ‘honor’ upon her bridal bed becomes the white sheet on the mirror protecting the ‘violated’ husband from his own reflected image upon his return home a badly bruised and broken man

  2. Sue Sue says:

    From my blog written by Hisham Matar and published in February 2007 by The Dial Press This is Matar's bio as written on the end flapHisham Matar was born in 1970 in New York city to Libyan parents and spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo He lives in London and is currently at work on his second novel In the Country of Men will be published in twenty two languagesThis was a difficult book to read not because of the density of the writing dense it was not but because the characters drew you into their lives in such a way that you wanted to but couldn't dialog with them The story is told through the eyes and voice of a 9 year old boy Suleiman as he describes how he sees what's happening to his family his mother his father and his uncle and their immediate friends and relatives in Libya in 1979The story is tragic in many ways but life is life and tragedy is part of it You have to take it as it is because it's the only way to get to know appreciate and respect those whose lives are different from our ownJust the other evening a group of us were talking about what we perceived as the tragic lives of an elderly couple we all know a couple who never has enough money to buy healthy food or clothing and who lives in substandard housing Yet you can't go in and fix the situation or even try unless you're asked because the damage to human dignity when you try to make a happily ever after according to our own individual standards is often damaging than the tragic circumstances themselvesThus is was with this book I kept wanting to explain things to this little boy to tell him to grow up and learn what it means to keep a secret to trust his family even though it seemed that all the world was falling apart So much I wanted to tell him I wanted to hold him in my arms with my hands close to his mouth to keep him uiet perhaps in the way you might do with a small child I wanted Suleiman to be mature than he was and I wondered why he wasn't I wanted to tell his mother that she needed to help him grow up by explaining than she did The book made me want to get involved and fix thingsBut this was Suleiman's life his mother's life his father's life his uncle's life and the lives of their friends and relatives and I could only observe It's better that way We can't rule the universe; and even if we could our disasters might be worse than the real ones we perceiveThe book was disturbing but I'm glad I read it The story will stay with me for a long time I'm glad Hisham Matar told the story in a way I could read and feel it I am better even though sadder for having experienced a bit of Suleiman's life Like the rest of us who survive childhood and Suleiman did we go on and we make of our lives what we can the best we can I hope he is doing well

  3. Jeremiah Seyrak Jeremiah Seyrak says:

    This is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read Reading this book has also brought to life all the stories my dad used to tell me about what it was like to live in Egypt with its ineuality dictatorship governments and that your every action is monitored It may sound like something from Orwell 1984 but it’s not it’s the harsh reality for many living in a region where prosperity and success is granted to a very very small select few while the majority of the population can barely afford to eat three suare meals or where the majority can’t even read because it isn’t a priority for the government It’s a place where you will never get the same opportunities that I am lucky to haveI feel very privileged to live where I do after reading this story

  4. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    I began by reading The Return Fathers Sons and the Land in Between and I wanted In the Country of Men by the same author is fiction with a strong autobiographical basis Having read the two books in this order one can easily differentiate between fictional and non fictional elements The two books are not the same; reading them both is not repetitive In this book we look at a young Libyan boy growing up under addafi's military dictatorship The year is 1979 and the boy's father is a dissident fighting for change We see through the eyes of a nine year old The boy is trying to understand his parents' troubled relationship He is trying to understand the world around him It is a coming of age story about a young boy who wants to be a man still loves his mother deeply with the immature love of a child and yet also loves admires and respects his father Growing up is about growing independent and the book shows this with a deft eye We observe the boy’s relationships with classmates neighbors and family The ride is emotional so observe is in fact the wrong word The book shines in how it so accurately and so heartrendingly shows his innocence and his growing awareness of an adult world where opposition has dire conseuences What do you choose Are you uiet do you say nothing do you stay in line do you follow under the shelter of the wall or do you oppose and put both yourself and your family in danger And if your mother and father see this differently can you not understand both But still you are only nine The lines moved me If I write them here will one grasp their poignancy The novel ends with his mother straightening his collar This brought tears to my eyes The audiobook is narrated by Khalid Abdallah Many will love his narration because he dramatizes with fervor I prefer to hear every word spoken clearly rather than having them jumbled in expressions of anger sadness and frenzy I'd rather figure out for myself words' emotional contentThe book emphasizes the emotional turmoil of living under addafi’s reign of terror than focusing on historical content

  5. Margitte Margitte says:

    The book is once again a narrative told by the people of a country about their country for their country and the worldAs communism is dying around the world and the effects it had on people's lives are appearing and all over the planet the reader is drawn into this story by the nine year old Suleima writing about his life in Libya and what happened to his nuclear family the extended family the neighbor and friends in 1979 during the regime of Mohammar Khadafi His dad Faraj is a successful businessman who did nothing unacceptable when he raped his unconscious fifteen year old virgin bride Najwa on their wedding night since it was totally fine in their male dominated culture But for the unhappy unwilling bride it created years of bitterness which she had to address on her own through her secret martini addiction and cigarettes Suleima witnesses her struggle as well as his father's political struggle and it has an effect on his inexperienced young thoughts and decisions He learns how to recognize danger but also misinterprets people's intentions towards him resulting in him betraying people he loved the most without knowing it The boy tells three people's stories in one narrative His own his mother's and his father's It is the oppressed Najwa his mother who ended up resolving their situation and change their livesAn excellent read

  6. Nada Elfeituri Nada Elfeituri says:

    I'm a Libyan so as soon as I heard of the existence of this book I ran to get it There aren't many Libyan authors because as usual of Gadhafi so I have respect for the ones out there My expectations for this book were really high After the revolution any bit of culture that was Libya related was treated like gold I knew a lot of people who loved this book so I guess I built it up in my head to be a masterpiece or somethingUnfortunately it didn't meet up to my ridiculous fantasies The story is told from the point of the view of the main protagonist a nine year boy named Suleiman While the portrayal of life under Gadhafi was accurate it was told through the impatient and shallow perspective of a child The story didn't really have a plot it was a short memoir More than once I was reminded of The Kite Runner albeit with stilted dialogue and a slower pace A lot of elements confused me like the vaguely Oedipal relationship with the his mother the fact that no one every explained to him what was going on how he would begin narrating an event and then abruptly stop and move on to something else What I'm trying to say is without blatantly insulting a fellow Libyan is that the book was interesting in the fact that it is one of the few books that speak from a Libyan point of view but as a novel is wasn't particularly engaging

  7. Connie G Connie G says:

    Suleiman was nine years old in 1979 Libya His father was active politically in the underground movement opposing uddafi's dictatorship His mother fluctuated between burying her regrets and fears with her medicine and trying to keep her family safeThe telephone was bugged a neighbor was executed his father's life was in danger The young boy was trying to understand what he observed what he was told and what he fearedThe book is told from the point of view of a nine year old child in a terribly stressful situation Suleiman didn't always make the best decisions but his world was falling apart and he didn't know who he could trust This is a thoughtful compassionate fictional book written by an author whose father was also a political prisoner

  8. Kyriakos Sorokkou Kyriakos Sorokkou says:

    AFRICAN BOOKS MARATHON BOOK 3TITLE In the Country of MenAUTHOR Hisham MatarCOUNTRY Libya I chose this book because it takes place in Libya of 1979 My father was working in Bengazi 2nd largest city in Libya in 1979 and things he told me where present in this bookPolicemen everywhere; in shops in the streets phone calls were usually tracked you had to be careful of what you were saying your posture and attitude197910 years 1969 after Muammar addafi's bloodless coup d'état and we see life in Libya under addafi The Guide through the eyes of nine year old SuleimanSeeing Libya through the eyes of a young boy is like seeing an iceberg above the sea level You only see a small percentage What's below is something larger and complexThe boy's narration; although we understand it is narrated by Suleiman in retrospective now a 24 year old and as a grown up man can give information and description that what we might expect from a 9 year old is still a boy's narration and we feel as outsiders We don't know why A' is considered a traitor and why B' was hanged and why C' escaped Libya The boy narrator leaves a lot to the imagination I can't say that nothing really happens A lot of things happen but they are presented as trivial every day events and the whole story feels like a soap opera where there's no much development of characters and the plot takes a long time to develop and when it does it's barely noticeable There's no real climax or denouement just several smaller climaxes and denouementsSuleiman is not a 100% likeable character he betrays people around him he tells secrets of his family to random people he can be violent sometimes usually kicking and throwing stones he has an Oedipal relationship with his mother which is severed every time his father is at home he feels resentment against others for reasons unexplained and many When he discovers that his father is not on a trip abroad but he actually stayed in Tripoli he feels betrayed by his father's lie and now he begins to understand when the grown ups lie to him and demands explanations usually through the medium of tantrums Suddenly the wider world becomes a frightening place where parents lie and uestions go unanswered and this last applies to the reader tooTo sum up the plot had an open beginning and ending and a straightforward plot didn't love it but didn't hate it either so I feel I should give this book a 35 stars My 1st contact with Libya and certainly not the lastYou can see the complete list of my African Books here

  9. Soumen Daschoudhury Soumen Daschoudhury says:

    Betrayal A stab in the back If devoid of conscience it is free of hurt; else you can never free yourself from the crushing ugly rock of repentance of self pity Did little Suleiman a mere nine year old child know that he was betraying the ones he loved the most murdering the hopes of a rebellion a fight for a cause a secret mission a revolution to eradicate another Was there a realization even a tiny bit of shame when he did so And for what this heinous misdeed It isn't easy for a child to cope when the fatal realization dawns on him that his small world that he breathes in is built on a plinth of glorious lies Is his Baba what he veritably knows him to be Why does he leave them so freuently when he knows that Mama falls ill whenever he abandons them Why can’t he be a simple man like Ustath Rashid his best friends’ father Left alone to be the man of the house he is laden with his incapacitated Mama’s impressionable stories of her past tales of woe and oppression a child should never discover A boundary of hatred engulfs him when he realizes that his Baba has lied to him to his Mama; what is this secret he can’t be told about The internal turmoil lurking in a child’s mind can turn him into a monster a fire breathing deadly ogre surpassing all confines of treachery Hisham Matar’s story is based in Libya during the trying times of Gadaffi’s revolutionary regime It is a crushing tale of clandestine rebellion against this regime by a handful of comrades who strive for a better Libya a free Libya lacking in oppression and dictatorship It is the story of young Suleiman’s ugly and blatant utterance of truth his gruesome effort of disentangling himself and breaking free from the cosmos of lies built around him But truth comes at a price at a devastating price The writing lacks poetry in fact is bland It is plainly evident that the author thinks in his native language and what you read is a literal translation You will inadvertently compare the story with Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ The stories from this part of the world are turning out into cliches but where the writing lacks in color it compensates in its horrific simplicity and grotesue threadbare incidents of cruelty Not for a moment did I feel any sympathy for the child; in fact I have to vulgarly admit that I hated him Throttling freedom and strangling views under the veil of ideologies isn't manly at all

  10. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    Some authors make a political statement with their stories powerful because of the emotional connections we make as readers to the circumstances In this case and despite the multiple awards and award nominations I felt the story was a thin veil over circumstances that the author wanted to talk about The nine year old makes confusing decisions isn't afraid when a normal child would be leading to destruction around him He felt emotionally distant At the same time the author ends up not giving the reader very much background information on what is actually going on since he tries to keep it to the world of that same nine year old I'd have to go read another book to understand the context I would prefer if it was all included hereAt the same time I wonder if that was the author's intent to portray the confusion a child would feel during war revolution and oppression In his small universe the parts of life he depends on family friends school are all disrupted by forces he isn't sure if he should fear or show loyalty to He suspects his Dad may be a traitor what is a child to do when he isn't told everything

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