Great African Reads discussion

In the Country of Men
This topic is about In the Country of Men
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Contemporary Lit | Books read > Matar: In the Country of Men | (CL) first read: May 2015

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message 1: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Our May selection, written by a man, is In the Country of Men. I have read this and am looking forward to the discussion. Who will be joining?


Sigrun Olafsdottir I've read "In the Country of Men", and I did find it very interesting to read a book taking place in Libya, as it's such a secluded country.

While reading I kept thinking that the way the inhabitants of Libya are oppressed by the regime seems to manifest itself in the main character, Suleimans, unpleasant actions toward his friends, family and fellow citizens. I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks about that.


message 3: by Tinea, Nonfiction Logistician (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tinea (pist) | 406 comments Mod
Lots of good discussion back in 2012 here from when this was a Tour read.


message 4: by Nea (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nea (neareads) | 7 comments I enjoyed learning about the character's experiences during that revolutionary period in Libya. The author's political stance was clear and interesting. However, I didn't enjoy the story through Suleiman's eyes. His character's naivete was implausible. I couldn't believe that he was totally clueless about his mother's alcoholism and his family's involvement in forbidden politics.


message 5: by Nea (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nea (neareads) | 7 comments Sigrun wrote: "While reading I kept thinking that the way the inhabitants of Libya are oppressed by the regime seems to manifest itself in the main character, Suleimans, unpleasant actions toward his friends, family and fellow citizens...
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I figured Suleiman was taking out his anger, and maybe shame, on Kareem since Suleiman's behavior didn't change until his own father was sought by authorities. The author implies that Suleiman's behavior toward his family is due to the family hiding the truth from the boy and keeping him so clueless about what is happening. He keeps giving out damaging information, but he doesn't seem to know that he's doing so. Now that you mention the manifestation of oppression in the young boy, I am thinking about how oppressed he must have felt. He knew he was being lied to and denied some truths. Also, he deeply felt his mother's oppression and depression. He hated that she'd been forced into a marriage she didn't want, that she spent so much time lonely and miserable. They were quite enmeshed, so I'd say he somewhat felt what she felt.


message 6: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Gosh...this is why i'm trying to do a better job of writing reviews! i read this quite a long time ago and gave it three stars...but why? I can't remember. All i can really remember is the mood of the book, which i enjoyed. But as for oppression and implausibility of naivete, I don't have anything to add at the moment. Maybe i can skim through the book again. I think these are really good discussion points!


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