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.
© Copyright 2011 by The Dial Press, an imprint of Random