“A glimpse of the problems of life in Libya...the writing flows. An interesting conundrum of wondering justhow much one should sympathize with the narrator.”Kari G wrote this review Tuesday, July 14, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I liked it and I thought it was okay, there really should be a so-so choice for the books. I eally don't know that much about the history elements that surround the plot, but I was still drawn to the storyline and the relationship between the mother and the son. There are some great quotes in the book.”Katie R wrote this review Thursday, June 11, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It lags in the middle, but it is still a worthy read about the influence of oppression on a youngster's life. The end is very moving.”Bill M wrote this review Thursday, March 19, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a first novel, and came fairly highly recommended – but I wasn’t too impressed. When the blurbs compared this book to ATONEMENT, I got a little excited – but it didn’t live up to the press.
This is the story of a nine-year old boy growing up in Libya. His father takes a stab at dissident politics, and is punished. Throughout the process, the little boy is confused. He, like most children, is amoral, and perpetrates small and larger betrayals accordingly (though there is no real “ah ah” betrayal here, in my mind).
I just didn’t feel the writing, characterizations, and plot were all that original or unique.
“I really didn't like this book. I don't recommend it.”Rana R wrote this review Friday, May 2, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I have to admit a bias, since the author is my cousin, but bias aside this is an amazing story. Hisham has a true gift with words, and I found myself instantly drawn into the story. It is not a happy book, but it is compelling and real.”Maia W wrote this review Wednesday, April 23, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I picked up this book in an attempt to join a book club, but didn't get around to reading it in time... I usually breeze through books this size in a night or two, but it took me a while to get through. Only because of the author's writing style. I later learned that the novel started out as a poem. That might explain the excessive use of metaphor and simile that reminded me of a high school english class lesson. I have a soft spot in my heart for novels written through the eyes of a child and taking place during a time of war or turmoil, but I don't feel like this author has as much of a connection to his own childhood and exile culture that one would need to take the boy's narrative to the level where I would feel connected to the boy's motivation and experiences. Many of Suleiman's actions confused me and seemed overintellectualized. I definitely felt like I was seeing the book through an adult's eyes trying to imagine what a child would be thinking. I think that after reading (and adoring) Donna Tartt's novels, I might have come into 'In the Country of Men' with high expectations for another downer novel seen through the eyes of a complex, conflicted child who isn't the stereotypical angel we'd all like kids to be. I did, however, enjoy learning a bit more about Libya's past and present and would like to learn more.”Fernelle wrote this review Sunday, April 13, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A captivating, beautiful book written like a poem of mourning. This brings vividly to life situations I'd only heard described in news stories, and as I finished reading this book I regretted only there aren't more Hisham Matar books at my fingertips...”Deb Bryan wrote this review Sunday, April 6, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This looks like an interesting book AND it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2006, Winner of the Europe and South Asian Region of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize: Best First Book AND Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. I am an absolute sucker for award winning books!! I'll let you know how it is!!! It was well written and worth the read!”Sarah K wrote this review Tuesday, June 10, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No