Jennifer Reese
January 26, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

In the Country of Men

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Hisham Matar
publisher
Dial Press
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

”I am recalling now that last summer before I was sent away,” begins In the Country of Men, Hisham Matar’s forceful debut. ”It was 1979, and the sun was everywhere. Tripoli lay brilliant and still beneath it.” The narrator, Suleiman, remembers clearly his final weeks as a 9-year-old in Gaddafi’s Libya: shopping with his mom, gorging on mulberries, waiting for the return of his beloved dad — from work, a business trip, and, finally, captivity. In limpid prose, Matar captures an ordinary, sometimes craven boy caught up in a political nightmare, and the poignant grown-up nostalgia for the certainties and security of a childhood cut abruptly short. A-

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