In the Country of Men

by Hisham Matar

Start Free Trial

Why did Hisham Matar title his novel "In the Country of Men"? Why he didn't title it "In the Country of Men and Women"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hisham Matar uses the title In the County of Men to emphasize that Libya under Qaddafi was a male-dominated society. Although Suleiman’s mother is an important character, she internalizes female oppression and frequently speaks of her subjugated status, such as through arranged marriage. Suleiman’s primary interactions are with the other male characters, including his friend Kareem, who is a boy his own age. The importance of his relationship with older male characters is emphasized: his own father; Kareem’s father, Rashid; and a family friend, Moosa. Both the opposition activists, which include these three men, and the supporters of Qaddafi are primarily male. When his father is arrested, Suleiman feels that he joins the country of men, as he must take more responsibility in caring for his mother.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team