Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In the Country of Men ” as Want to Read:
In the Country of Men
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In the Country of Men

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,101 Ratings  ·  615 Reviews
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 bitternes ...more
245 pages
Published 2006 by Viking
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In the Country of Men, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Ahmed First, you have Najwa's family who betrayed her through forcing her marriage as young as 14. Also, Faraj betrayed his friend, Ustath Rashid when he…moreFirst, you have Najwa's family who betrayed her through forcing her marriage as young as 14. Also, Faraj betrayed his friend, Ustath Rashid when he told the revolutionary committee about him while the opposite is shown by Ustath Rashid ( loyalty ) as the name of Faraj comes across him but he replies saying "No" , no that he doesn't want to say that he knows him. Besides, there The protagonist, Suleiman betrays Kareem upon calling his father a "traitor" and revealing his little secret about a girl he liked at school. So basically, when you are trying to answer such a question, it's important to include what Matar is trying to show the reader about betrayal. Which is that betrayal can have not only immense effects on humans, but also long-lasting ones. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Tea Jovanović
Kod nas je objavio Marso... Proverite zašto je ova knjiga podobijala tolike nagrade (ili bila u užem/širem izboru za nagrade)... Libija... Za ljubitelje "Lovca na zmajeve" ili "Jutra u Dženinu"... ili "Pitanja i odgovora" i "Belog tigra"...
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
في ليبيا حدثت ثورتان
ثوره ضد العقيد القذافي
!! وهذه الروايه
روايه صادقه ومن القلب وللقلب وصلت
المشاهد والأحداث والتاريخ الليبي
الذي يغلي على نار هادئه
أرض النفاق والأكاذيب
شجاعه الأب بمواجهه العنف البوليسي
وعدم الرضوخ للتهديدات
والثمن الذي دفعه مقابل صموده ودفاعه عن
مبادئه وإيمانه بالحريه والعداله
الروايه رغم قسوتها إلا أن ما يلطف أجوائها
هي قصها بلسان طفل
بريء ملائكي يرى ما يدور حوله
ويحكيه دون مواربه وخداع
تستحق القراءه أكثر من مره
وخصوصا ً أن الأجواء العامه والفضاء السياسي
الليبي بعد الثوره قد كشف وظهر على ا
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I began by reading The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between and I wanted more. 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
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 more and more 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,
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
شاعرية جدا ، رغم جوها الكئيب ، كرهت المؤلف في لحظات معينة ، لأنه استدرج براءة الاطفال إلى عالم السياسة .. مشهد اعدام رشيد كان مؤلما جدا بالنسبة لي ، و همجيا جدا .. وددت لو أعرف ليبيا واحدا لأستفسر منه عن حقيقة الأمر .. - لكن لن أستغرب ما قرأت ما دام القذافي يحكمهم - ..
أحببت شاعريتها جدا ..
أحببت نجوى جدا .. جعلتني أستحضر نجوى منيف وجبرا في عالم بلا خرائط لا أعلم لماذا ، ربما هذا الجنون العشقي - لكنها مختلفة .. هي أيضا رضيت العبودية وآثرتها على الموت ..
جذبتني في الكتاب مقاطع لم أفكر فيها من ق
Kyriakos Sorokkou


TITLE: In the Country of Men

AUTHOR: Hisham Matar


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 book.
Policemen everywhere; in shops, in the streets, phone calls were usually tracked, you had to be careful of what you were saying, your posture, and attitude.

10 years (1969) after Muammar Qaddafi's bloodless coup d'état and we
Nada Elfeituri
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. Th
Soumen Daschoudhury
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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 g ...more
Nojood Alsudairi
It is nice to read this book in Arabic but if you can, read it in the language it was written in originaly; English. Reading the book in English gave it one more star. What amazes me is the development of the 9 year old character that took place in a small number of days. His adoration, love-hate and pitty relationship with his parents, especially his mom, is portrayed in a wonderful way. The struggle of the child between admiring the enemy and disliking him, at the same time, is shown in the vi ...more
رواية جميلة.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorite
أحببته باللغة العربية، رغم محاولتي العقيمة لقراءته بالانجليزية .شعرت بعروبته بطعم المعاني التي لا أعرف لها فهماً إلا بالعربية

في بلاد الرجال
قصة حلم بالجنة، وورق توت
قصة بعد جميل وأحلام وردية يحلمها حين يبعد عن أبيه، وقرب يجفله ويكرهه لحقيقة برودة ذلك القرب
قصته مع أم كان هو أميرها الصغير
قصة استيعاب طفل لعالم لايتكلم إلا بالألغاز

يجب أن تقتنى

من الكتاب
" أتعرفين ماما كم بذلت الملائكة من جهد، وكيف خاطرت بكل شيء لتمنحنا التوت
وكل ذلك لأنها أدركت كم ستكون الحياة قاسية علينا هنا في هذه الأرض
ليتك كنت معي هن
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
رواية رائعة جداً ومتكاملة، تمثل مأساة الشعب الليبي خلال العهد السابق بأبلغ التعابير وأجملها، وأكثرها مرارة.
شخصيات هذه الرواية تجسد أبعاد المجتمع الليبي سياسياً، واجتماعياً، وثقافياً بشكل ملم وسلس.
سليمان الطفل الذي تأثر بخليط هذه الأبعاد إذ ارتسمت على طفولته إضطرابات ملامح السياسة المقفرة ومرارة ثقافة المجتمع التي تجرعتها والدته صغيرة في عمر الرابعة عشر والذي أحس سليمان بالمسؤولية إتجاهها.
أحببت تفاصيل الرواية كثيراً وتشبثت بجميعها، بأولاد الشارع وموسى الرائع، بليالي سليمان وأمه في رحلات "مرضها"،
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
راقت لي كثيراً!!
Samar Barakat
Sadly, a quote from Francis Bacon comes to mind, that some books should only be sampled or some such thing. This book was quite dull. I started it with great expectations; it was the first novel I had read by a Libyan writer and with Libya constantly in the news, I thought its moment had come. It is also a book narrated from the perspective of a nine-year-old boy, and I was looking forward to some innocence, humour and charm. There was not much of that- the boy seemed at once too mature and too ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Salma Hegab
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Khawlah Abdullah
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
تدور أحداث الرواية في ظلال الثورة الليبية لـ معمّر القذافي D :
بـ عقلٍ سئوول وعينيّ طفلٍ في التاسعة من عمره تتكشف صفحات الأحداث شيئاً فشيئا ..
حملة الاعتقالات التي طالت أولئك الذين يرفضون الثورة الليبية ويُطالبون بالديموقراطية ، ثم حبل المشنقة الذي بدوره يتكفل بـ قطف الرؤوس !..
الرواية مُتخمة بالتفاصيل والأحاسيس الإنسانية البحتة .
القلق ، الخوف ، الترقب ، الانتظار ، النزاع الذي يعتمل في النفس البشرية ، والكثير الكثير ..
لغة الكاتب جميلة ، راقني اسلوبه السردي ..
يعيب الرواية بعض الألفاظ البذيئة -على
Praveen Palakkazhi
Continuing my recent plough through the Booker lists of the last decade or so.

A relatively simple and short tale set in an increasingly complicated environment, this was the Booker shortlisted debut of exiled Libyan author, Hisham Matar. Set in 1979 Tripoli during the oppressive regime of Qaddafi, this is a tale told from the point of view of its nine year old narrator as he gets inadvertently pulled into the murky world of deception and revolution. Matar has personal experience in this regard,
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
I'm normally not a fan of historical fiction, but as a world literature lover, I couldn't help but try this one. Even though it was a little difficult to get into, I am so, so glad I did.

In the Country of Men is a gripping account, from a small boy's perspective, of Gaddafi's infamous terror regime. It shimmers in the triumphs and fumes in the horrors of the the Libyan revolution of 1979, and expertly depicts Libyan culture and customs—the entire "world full of men and the greed of men"—as well.
Ron Charles
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behind reports of dissidents intimidated, tortured and killed by the world's repressive regimes hide the subtler, more obscure stories of their young children. They experience a world overcast by two shadows: parents trying to shield them from alarm and Orwellian governments denying that anything is amiss. Writing from his current home in London, Libyan author Hisham Matar has captured this plight in his first novel, a haunting, poetic story about a 9-year-old boy struggling to comprehend what's ...more
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The young son of two parents witnesses the abduction and public hanging of his next door neighbor, the father of his best friend. He also witnesses the arrest of his father. Both men were found to be treasonous against a regime of terror, the regime of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Suleiman spent days and nights, comforting his mother, and hating his mother, for the illness that took her over when her husband was not home. This illness, the reader soon discovers, is alcoholism. It is in this state t ...more
Amanda Brookfield
I bought 'In the Country of Men' because I heard Hisham Matar talking on the radio and was captivated. He talked not just about this novel (without giving too much away - always a challenge!) and also about the writing process itself, eloquently expressing all the joys and difficulties that go with the territory of trying to create a story that combines drama with truth. The book won numerous awards, including being shortlisted for the Man Booker, and is based on harrowing real-life events which ...more
Jenni Van Huyssteen
WOW. Having lived in Libya and heard the stories of the horrors of life under Gaddafi from my Libyan friends, I was very keen to read this book about that life, as seen through the eyes of a child. Hisham Matar certainly did not disappoint. He tells the story simply, as a child of 9 would, sometimes not understanding what is actually going on under the surface of the life he is used to. He simply accepts that his father is a "businessman" who travels a lot, and that his mother often needs "medic ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
من الصعب جدا أن تقرأ وطنك مكتوبا و لا تتأثر أو تشعر بشيء يهزك من الداخل و يزيدك من الألم ... ليبيا وطني و إنتمائي و ألمي

كان من المفترض أن أقرأ هذه الرواية قبل عامين من الأن حيث توفرت لي النسخة الانجليزية منها في حينها و لكن الظروف لم تشئ ذلك

لهذه الرواية شقين من الحكم: الحكم الأدبي و الحكم السياسي

الحكم الأدبي:

النسخة العربية المترجمة سيئة جدا... لم تقنعني بتاتا وبثت في نوعا من الحنق و الغضب...الكلمات المستخدمة في الترجمة غير مريحة و غير متناسقة مع الأحداث.. كنت أفضل لو أن من قام بالترجمة كان ليبي
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the summer of 1979 in Tripoli, Libya, and the narrator of this novel remembers a boyhood year in which his life is forever changed by the repressive regime of Col. Quaddafi's revolutionary government. Little aware of what is going on around him, the boy struggles to understand the strange behavior of his father, who as we learn is an educated businessman with democratic aspirations for his country. Left for long periods of time alone with his mother, the boy puzzles over signs of her growi ...more
The narrator's mother tells him that Scheherazade, when the king finally allowed her a wish after 1,001 stories and she asked that he spare her, chose a life "of slavery" over death. But this whole book is about people choosing lives of slavery (to a husband, to a government, to an exile) rather than death. And the death we see, the lives that are lived, leave little evidence to judge if Suleiman's mother was right.

Obviously, I side with the revolutionaries and the girls who talk back to their f
This book is set in Libya, and tells the story of a young boy growing up in Tripoli in the 1970s, learning that his parents are actual people with actual lives and actual flaws. Learning that his actions have very serious ramifications. Learning that the world is much bigger than he thinks it is.

It's a difficult book to read in a lot of ways, and a frustrating book in others because being told through the eyes of a nine year old, there are a lot of serious issues that aren't really covered in s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Mother's Milk (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #4)
  • I'll Go to Bed at Noon
  • Carry Me Down
  • The Map of Love
  • Out of It
  • The Good Doctor
  • Lyrics Alley
  • Reef
  • Paradise
  • Reading the Ceiling
  • A Girl Made of Dust
  • A Palace in the Old Village
  • The Last Will & Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo
  • Europa
  • Master Georgie
  • Oxygen
  • The Keepers of Truth
  • Get a Life
Hisham Matar was born in New York City, where his father was working for the Libyan delegation to the United Nations. When he was three years old, his family went back to Tripoli, Libya, where he spent his early childhood. Due to political persecutions by the Ghaddafi regime, in 1979 his father was accused of being a reactionary to the Libyan revolutionary regime and was forced to flee the country ...more
More about Hisham Matar...

Share This Book

“Grief loves the hollow; all it wants is to hear its own echo.” 47 likes
“وفي بعض الصباحات الشتوية عندما تلتحف السماء بظلمة عنيدة، كنت أتسلل إلى سريرها البديل وأنا بكامل ملابسي المدرسية، ثم أتقوقع في التجويف الذي خلّفته في الملاءات وأتساءل وربطة عنقي تضغط على رقبتي، والدفء يسري في خدي من وسادتها، كيف للفردوس أن يكون شيئاً مختلفاً عن هذا؟” 21 likes
More quotes…