10 April 2012

The BBC World Bookclub

A couple of months ago I had the privilege of being interviewed on the London-based BBC World Bookclub show, when it interviewed author Hisham Matar. Matar wrote In the Country of Men, which I reviewed several years ago - and really liked.

It's about 9-year-old Suleiman, who lives with his parents in golden Tripoli, 10 years after Moammar Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution. 

There, he tries to reconcile the things he understands (sesame sticks, football and mulberries) with all of the things he doesn’t. 

These include secret police, clandestine agitators, intimidation and torture, televised trials and hidden addictions.

My specific question for Hisham Matar was:

You have a particular knack for creating beautiful imagery in your writing; for using simile.
  • A man trying to resist being taken to the gallows reminds Sulaiman of "the way a shy woman would resist her friends' invitation to dance, pulling her shoulders up to her ears and waving her index finger nervously in front of her mouth".
  • Why has another boy's father "vanished like a grain of salt in water"?
  • A man is parked outside in a car "like a giant dead moth in the sun."
As a writer myself, I’m interested to know whether you work hard to create these, or whether they simply suggest themselves to you, as the result of your being a nuanced observer of your own world?

And here is his answer

Sort of. Enjoy. 

Photo credit: Google Images

No comments: