BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Led by James Naughtie, a group of readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels


Hisham Matar - In the Country of Men

May 3rd, 2015

Episode 410 of 438 episodes

James Naughtie and readers talk to Hisham Matar about his gripping debut novel In The Country Of Men. This international bestseller is set in Colonel Gaddafi's Libya of 1979, as the narrator Suleiman looks back on his childhood summer and tries to makes sense of the bewildering world around him. His best friend's father disappears and is next seen on state television at a public execution, a mysterious man sits outside the house all day, gives him sweets and asks for the names of his father's friends; and it seems his father has finally disappeared for good. Hisham Matar explains now the novel is not autobiographical but that he remembers that time well, how life in Libya 'went indoors' with cinemas closed and access to bookshops restricted. He remembers how fears, secrets and betrayal threatened individuals and families. He also talks about how his own father disappeared in the 1980s. In The Country Of Men was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Presenter : James Naughtie Interviewed guest : Hisham Matar Producer : Dymphna Flynn June's Bookclub choice is Do No Harm by Henry Marsh.

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