In the Country of No Men By Hicham Matar

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 Author is mostly known for

  • His debut novel In the Country of Men was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize
  • In the Country of Men received accolades from writers including J. M. CoetzeeAnne Michaels and Nadeem Aslam
  • It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award 2006
  • In the Country of Men” has been translated into 22 languages
  • Matar’s short story, “Naima“, was included in The Pen/O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Best Stories of the Year, 2012 collection of short stories, which, as a quote by The Atlantic Monthlyreads on its cover, is “Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.

Source: Wikipedia

Others publications 

Anatomy of a Disappearance

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Prizes/Awards 

  • 2007 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book award for Europeand South Asia,
  •  2007 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize
  • The Italian Premio Vallombrosa Gregor von Rezzori
  • The Italian Premio Internazionale Flaiano (Sezione Letteratura)
  • The inaugural Arab American Book Award

Author whereabouts 

Hisham Matar lives in New York.

Excerpt

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 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 television

Key themes/Topics

  1. Politics in Africa
  2. Libya’s Revolution and its aftermath
  3. Dictatorship versus democracy
  4. The role of student’s movements in African politics
  5. The relationship between politics and military in Africa
  6. The impact of dictatorship on the population
  7. The role of the military in a dictatorship

I found strange

Nothing.

I found brilliant

Honestly, everything! what a great but terrifying story. This story is told by a 10-year-old boy, imagine how terrifying it must have been for him.  I am going to repeat myself again here, but politics in Africa is everyone’s business. It doesn’t matter that you don’t work for the government. What matters is your opinion or lack of it. You should keep your opinion for yourself – End of the story. Otherwise, terrible things can happen to you.

This is a book about politics but the focus  is more on  Suleiman’s family. How they are coping with the revolution and its consequences of people’s liberties? Suleiman’s father was involved in some pro-democracy  movement with students.

What to expect 

Honestly, I was utterly shocked. I had no idea whatsoever of what was really going on inside Libya. This book made me rethink the whole Gaddafi saga. I knew he was a dictator, but I didn’t know things were that bad. Imagine ,they execute you, if you dare to criticize the revolution.

Expect, a lot of politics. And of course, the overzealous military, revolutionary or whatever they call themselves, is killing, torturing and executing  those who dare think democracy, on a regular basis inside a pack stadium. Some people love these executions. They watch it at the stadium like it was a game. I don’t know who are these people who seem to enjoy the execution of their fellow citizens, but it is all very strange.

I recommend!

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2 responses to “In the Country of No Men By Hicham Matar

  1. Pingback: Under The Neem Tree Best books of 2014 | Under the neem Tree·

  2. Pingback: Ramadan Reading Challenge 2015 – Midterm Report | Under the neem Tree·

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