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Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men ()

'Bryant Park' Book Club: 'In the Country of Men'

Feb 29, 2008 (The Bryant Park Project)

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Update: We've changed the date of the Book Club's online meeting to Tuesday, April 1.

Welcome to the Bryant Park Project Book Club. In March, we'll be reading Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men.

Set in Libya in 1979, during some of the harshest days of the Moammar Gadhafi regime, the novel follows a boy named Suleiman as he descends into a world of intrigue and disappearances. Matar's own father, a critic of Gadhafi, disappeared in 1990. Matar now lives in exile.

Matar's novel was short-listed for the Mann Booker Prize in 2006. Book club moderator Sarah Goodyear describes it as an entrancing novel that takes readers into a world Westerners don't often see — much the way The Kite Runner shows readers life in Afghanistan or Persepolis life in Iran. Despite its many accolades, In the Country of Men is a book many readers might never hear of, and Goodyear says that's a shame. "It's a beautiful book," she says.

Throughout March, Goodyear will periodically post on our blog to remind us to keep reading, to give us things to think about and to field your questions. On Tuesday, April, we'll have our book club meeting online. She'll moderate a discussion about the book, and we'll generate some questions for the author. Then we'll talk to the author on our radio show and give you a chance to have your questions answered.

On our blog, Goodyear reads from In the Country of Men.

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