On a white-hot day in Tripoli, Libya, in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman is shopping in the market square with his mother. His father is away on business - except that he is sure he has just seen his father, standing across the street in a pair of dark glasses. But, why isn't he waving? And, why doesn't he come over when he knows ...
On a white-hot day in Tripoli, Libya, in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman is shopping in the market square with his mother. His father is away on business - except that he is sure he has just seen his father, standing across the street in a pair of dark glasses. But, why isn't he waving? And, why doesn't he come over when he knows Suleiman's mother is falling apart? From a breathtaking new talent comes an utterly gripping, incredibly emotional novel told from the point of view of a young boy growing up in a terrifying and bewildering world where his best friend's father disappears and is next seen on state television at a public execution; where a mysterious man sits outside the house all day and asks strange questions; where his mother and uncle burn all his father's books when they know what an avid reader he is; and when it seems his father has finally disappeared for good. Soon, the whispers and fears, secrets and lies will become so intense that Suleiman can bear them no longer and in his terrified effort to save his family may end up betraying his friends, his parents and ultimately himself.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-10-30 Shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, Matar's debut novel tracks the effects of Libyan strongman Khadafy's 1969 September revolution on the el-Dawani family, as seen by nine-year-old Suleiman, who narrates as an adult. Living in Tripoli 10 years after the revolution with his parents and spending lazy summer days with his best friend, Kareem, Suleiman has his world turned upside down when the secret police-like Revolutionary Committee puts the family in its sights-though Suleiman does not know it, his father has spoken against the regime and is a clandestine agitator-along with families in the neighborhood. When Kareem's father is arrested as a traitor, Suleiman's own father appears to be next. The ensuing brutality resonates beyond the bloody events themselves to a brutalizing of heart and mind for all concerned. Matar renders it brilliantly, as well as zeroing in on the regime's reign of terror itself: mock trials, televised executions, neighbors informing on friends, persecution mania in those remaining. By the end, Suleiman's father must either renounce the cause or die for it, and Suleiman faces the aftermath of conflicts (including one with Kareem) that have left no one untouched. Suleiman's bewilderment speaks volumes. Matar wrests beauty from searing dread and loss. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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