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In march we’ll be discussing Hisham Matar’s In The Country of Men. A stunning, poetic debut from the now Booker winning novelist, In The Country of Men brought to life Qaddafi’s terror regime in the heat of 1979.
— Nine-year-old Suleiman is just awakening to the wider world beyond the games on the hot pavement outside his home and beyond the loving embrace of his parents. He becomes the man of the house when his father goes away on business, but then he sees his father, standing in the market square in a pair of dark glasses. Suddenly the wider world becomes a frightening place where parents lie and questions go unanswered. Suleiman turns to his mother, who, under the cover of night, entrusts him with the secret story of her childhood. —
In the Country of Men is a stunning depiction of a child confronted with the private fallout of a public nightmare. As Kamila Shamsie observed in The Guardian, it is a novel “most concerned with relationships… Matar movingly charts the ways in which love endures in situations of great repression, but also shows how repression threatens everything, even love, putting relationships under a strain that can be unendurable.” A gripping work of rare insight and literary grace.