Book Review: In the Country of Men

In the Country of MenIn the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have many Libyan friends I met here in the U.S. and it was interesting to read a novel which gave some insight into what their lives have been like since Gadhafi took control 42 years ago. I liked this book very much, but only gave it three stars because of the last part which felt rushed and somewhat unsatisfying. The main part of the novel brings us intimately into the life of a young boy growing up in Libya shortly after Gadhafi’s takeover. In the last part, which is almost an epilogue, we’re are rushed through the rest of his childhood when he was sent to live in Cairo under the care of a guardian and didn’t really live in Libya again for any length of time. Of course, the dilemma is that only those who have escaped from Libya have been free to write about it, so there is not much out there that is more current. Perhaps this author will attempt to follow-up this book with one that goes into more details about the last four decades.

Libyans are a wonderful people and it breaks my heart that they have had their lives impoverished and restricted by Gadhafi’s dictates. I only hope and pray that their present fight for liberation with be successful and that they will soon be able to speak and write freely about their rich heritage and history.

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