RACHEL MARTIN, Host:
So the Bryant Park's book club spent the month of March reading Hisham Matar's novel "In the Country of Men," and today, the book club is holding an online meeting. Here to tell us how you can join in is our dear friend. She has been away. We are so glad she's returned to us after many days of being gone, Laura Conaway.
STEWART: Laura Conaway!
LAURA CONAWAY: Good morning. How are you guys?
MARTIN: We're doing great. Also with her today, book club hostess, Sarah Goodyear, hi, Sarah.
SARAH GOODYEAR: Hello, Rachel. Hello, Alison.
STEWART: How are you?
MARTIN: So, what's going on? We apparently opened a thread on the blog for comments and questions?
GOODYEAR: That's right. We just opened a thread and the idea is if you've read the book, even if you haven't finished the book, jump on there. You might have some plot points revealed if you haven't finished it.
GOODYEAR: Jump on there. Say what you want to say. I've already been talking to readers who have read the book and actually have talked about how it's such a great way to go into a very difficult subject matter. Libya, the role of Muammar al-Gaddafi, but seen through a perspective that really, you know, let's us into something we might not know about otherwise. Christine Livernash of Wisconsin Falls, Wisconsin said what she thought about it.
CHRISTINE LIVERNASH: It's through the eyes of a child and what he saw and how he interpreted things. And it was just really disturbing to me. This book was hard for some people to read and I think it's because we're always looking for happy endings and things to turn out right, and realistically, this was a terrible traumatic experience and he didn't come out OK in some ways.
GOODYEAR: So this book club thing is new for us, and we're feeling our way through it. But we want people to jump on there and just start talking about what they think.
STEWART: I want to know what moment of the book shocked people, because I had like three or four.
GOODYEAR: Yeah, there's a couple of really, really disturbing moments in there.
STEWART: And surprising things he does. Or surprising things you find out about this family or...
GOODYEAR: Yeah, and what's really amazing is this child is able to just betray people and himself. And it's all a result of the environment he's growing up in and that's really powerfully done.
CONAWAY: So we're going to take what we get from people are use it - I think you guys are planning on talking to the author later this week?
STEWART: Yeah, tomorrow. The author now lives in London...
CONAWAY: And we're going to do an interview with him. We would love to know what your questions are for Hisham Matar.
GOODYEAR: Yeah, so throw them out there.
STEWART: It's such an amazing opportunity to think you're actually going to ask questions of the person of your book club - who you're book club book is written by.
CONAWAY: It's very cool.
GOODYEAR: Yeah, and a lot of time in a book club, you're just sitting around bouncing it around between yourselves, this time Hisham Matar is going to be available to answer your questions, your concerns. You can find out how the book relates to his life. And it all happens on the BPP Book Club.
MARTIN: Do we know anything else about what he's written? Is this something that's been typical of his work?
GOODYEAR: No, this is his first book. And I believe he is writing another book, and he has also written some essays, one of them is on our blog - an essay about his life and his father and his imprisonment in Libya. He's still missing. he's still gone.
MARTIN: And for those of you who can't join us for the blog and are concerned you might not hear the interview, we're actually going to tape the interview so we can play it on Thursday. So everybody will get to hear the interview.
GOODYEAR: Yeah, and that open thread will just be open for anytime, no matter what time zone. We had a reader in Barcelona, I think, who was concerned she wasn't going to be able to participate, but thanks to the miracle of the interwebs, we can all participate.
MARTIN: It was an excellent choice, Sarah Goodyear. And then I guess we get to announce the next book, when do you think? Tricia, Friday? Yeah, all right, executive decision made right there, live on the air. Love that. The Bryant Park Project Book Club discussion happening all day today on our blog. Go to npr.org/bryantpark and weigh in on Hisham Matar's "In the Country of Men." Nice to see both of you.
GOODYEAR: Thank you.
CONAWAY: Thank you.
STEWART: Welcome back, Laura.
MARTIN: And that does it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project. We are always online. no, we don't go away, npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin.
STEWART: I'm Alison Stewart. We're six months old.
CONAWAY: Happy birthday, everyone.
MARTIN: This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.
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