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Extended Audio Sample In the Country of Men: A Novel, by Hisham Matar Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,819 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hisham Matar Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Matar writes in a voice that shifts gracefully between the adult exile looking back and the young boy experiencing these events through his limited, confused point of view.”

    Washington Post

  • “A tender-hearted account, winning in its simplicity, of a childhood infected too soon by the darkness of adults.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “With so much horror to digest, Hoye wisely doesn’t try to infuse childish ingenuousness into Suleiman’s observations. An exceptional debut novel is given an intelligent, respectful reading.”


  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Washington Post Bestseller
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shui | 2/13/2014

    " Beautiful prose. Left me feeling humble and deeply grateful for the life I have in the West. Gives a glimpse how ordinary people behave in a hostile environment in order to get by and not be noticed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Isabella Douglas | 2/6/2014

    " Love the opening and seeing the story through the eyes of a young boy. The language brings the reader into the story immediately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Rashid | 2/6/2014

    " Talks about an early period in Qaddafi's rule of Libya from a child's point of view. Well written but left with no ending! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nicole Marble | 1/27/2014

    " Written in 2008 about Libya in 1979, it seeps prescient: a police state, revolutionary students, secret police, arbritary arrests, told through the eyes of a 9 year old boy. It is a strange story, strangely told. "

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