In the Country of Men
By Hisham Matar
Dial Press, Paperback, 9780385340434, 246pp.
Publication Date: February 26, 2008
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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 questions 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 television.
In 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.
"From the Hardcover edition.
"A poetic and powerful account ... resonant with the details of a Libyan childhood.”—Wall Street Journal
“Graceful.... Quietly, but with the insistence of a tolling bell, Matar lays bare for Suleiman both public and private worlds of overlapping male power, role models, standards and styles. At its intimate center, the novel calibrates the boy's shifting, decreasingly innocent perspective as he himself becomes implicated by cruelty and betrayal.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Matar is a careful, controlled writer. His restraint—the spaces and the light between his words —make reading his work a physical as well as an emotional experience.”—Los Angeles Times
“Moving ... complex .... [Readers will] be haunted by Suleiman, his fate and his eventual awakening to the complexities of adult relationships.”—Seattle Times
“Matar writes in a voice that shifts gracefully between the adult exile looking back and the young boy experiencing these events through his limited, confused point of view.... This sad, beautiful novel captures the universal tragedy of children caught in their parents' terrors.”—Washington Post Book World
“A remarkably perceptive and affecting portrait of a young boy's premature political awakening.... [Matar] expertly builds an atmosphere of palpable tension, and though this novel never delves directly into politics, the menacing pall cast by political tyranny looms over the proceedings.”—Miami Herald