In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar
Rescued Thread from 27th March 2006
Which is a straight copy of what it says on the back of the book!
This is due for publication at the end of July, and Penguin have decided to send proofs round to Reading Groups to get some feedback. There is a questionnaire that accompanies it, with some very bizarre questions(eg "What is the most unique thing about this book?").
The back of the book also states this is "as unputdownable and heartbreaking as The Kite Runner". Having not read The Kite Runner, and having seen Stewart's review I had no desire to!
However, I thought I ought to give this a go. It was a lot more readable than I expected, and dwelt a lot less on the politics of the Gaddafi regime than it could have. I don't think I lost out by not knowing much about the political or historical detail.
I didn't find it as emotional, or unputdownable as the back led me to believe I would, but I am glad I read it. I am also interested now in reading Kite Runner to see how it compares.
As I say the writing style was easy to read, and the plot was well-constructed. The main character, Suleiman, is clearly a product of his upbringing, and in the UK would be regularly visiting a counsellor! The background to the family, and the family life, is so clearly described that you can understand why he behaves in the way he does.
Suleiman and his family do seem like real people. I visualised a lot of the detail of the setting (eg the garden around their house) very clearly.
Overall, a good book - well written and well developed.