➾ In the Country of Men Free ➵ Author Hisham Matar – Dailytradenews.co.uk

In the Country of Men chapter 1 In the Country of Men, meaning In the Country of Men, genre In the Country of Men, book cover In the Country of Men, flies In the Country of Men, In the Country of Men 757ff65527447 Libya, 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 From His Father S Constant Business Trips Abroad But His Nights Have Come To Revolve Around His Mother S Increasingly Disturbing Bedside Stories Full Of Old Family Bitterness And Then One Day Suleiman Sees His Father Across The Square 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 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 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. says:

    Kod nas je objavio Marso Proverite za to je ova knjiga podobijala tolike nagrade ili bila u u em irem izboru za nagrade Libija Za ljubitelje Lovca na zmajeve ili Jutra u D eninu ili Pitanja i odgovora i Belog tigra

  2. 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 critique 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 quo, 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 regime.Najwa s adolescent crime is that she was found talking to a boy in a public caf 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 rescue protect her In the country of men, it is the woman who saves the day, overcoming the cowardly stance of the Scheherazades past and present idealists fantasists 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.

  3. 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 flap Hisham 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 languages.This 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 1979.The 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 own.Just 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 themselves.Thus 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 quiet, 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 things But 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 perceive.The 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

  4. 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 inequality, 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 square 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 have.I feel very privileged to live where I do after reading this story.

  5. 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 Qaddafi 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 consequences What do you choose Are you quiet, 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 content.The book emphasizes the emotional turmoil of living under Qaddafi s reign of terror than focusing on historical content.

  6. says:

    The book is, once again, a narrative told by the people of a country, about their country for their country and the world.As 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 lives.An excellent read

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  8. 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 something.Unfortunately 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.

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