In the Country of Men

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In the Country of Men
First edition
AuthorHisham Matar
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherViking Press
Publication date
6 July 2006
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages256 pp

In the Country of Men is the debut novel of Libyan writer Hisham Matar[1], first published in 2006 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books. It was nominated for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award[2]. It has so far been translated into 22 languages and was awarded the 2007 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize as well as a host of international literary prizes. The book was also nominated for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award in the U.S.

Plot summary[edit]

The book follows the plight of Suleiman, a nine-year-old boy living in Tripoli in Libya, stuck between a father whose clandestine anti-Qaddafi activities bring about searches, stalkings and telephone eaves droppings by Qaddafi's state police, and a vulnerable young mother who resorts to alcohol to bury her anxiety and anger. The only people he has to turn to are his neighbor Kareem, and his father's best friend Moosa. The book provides a description of Libya under Qaddafi's terror regime, and a narration of ordinary people's lives as they try to survive the political oppression.


  • Suleiman el Dewani - the nine-year-old narrator
  • Faraj el Dewani "Baba" - Suleiman's father
  • Najwa "Mama" - Suleiman's mother
  • Moosa - Baba's best friend
  • Kareem - Suleiman's next-door neighbour and best friend
  • Ustath Rashid - Kareem's father and a co-conspirator of Baba; he has already been arrested when the book's narrative begins
  • Sharief - a member of the Revolutionary Committee hunting Faraj el Dewani



  1. ^ "In The Country of Men". Hisham Matar. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  2. ^ "In The Country of Men". Hisham Matar. Retrieved 2018-02-08.

External links[edit]