In the Country of Men
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.
In the Country of Men is a stunning depiction of a child confronted with the private fallout of a public nightmare. But above all, it is a debut of rare insight and literary grace.
Baker & Taylor
On a hot day in Tripoli in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman spots his father, supposedly away on business, across from the market square and wearing dark glasses, the first portent of grave danger in a previously unsuspected world.
Blackwell North Amer
On a white-hot day in Tripoli, Libya, in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman is shopping in the market square with his mother. His father is away on business - but Suleiman is sure he has just seen him, standing across the street in a pair of dark glasses. But why isn't he waving? And why doesn't he come over when he knows Suleiman's mother is falling apart?
Whispers and fears intensify around Suleiman: his best friend's father disappears and is next seen being interrogated on state television; a man parks his car outside the house every day and asks strange questions; and his mother frantically burns his father's books. As Suleiman begins to wonder whether his father has disappeared for good, it feels as if the walls of his home will break with the secrets that are being held within.
On a hot day in Tripoli, Libya, in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman is shopping in the market square with his mother while his father is away on business, except that he is sure he has just seen his father, standing across the street in a pair of dark glasses, the first portent of grave danger and a sinister, previously unsuspected world. 45,000 first printing.
From the critics
From Library Staff
A nine-year-old Libyan boy is caught between a father whose covert activities bring about searches, stalkers, and bugged telephones, and mother who turns to drugs to bury her anxiety and anger.
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