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In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes

In the Kingdom of Men

by Kim Barnes

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1681670,815 (3.44)11



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I think I'm being generous by giving this one 3 stars. There was really nothing I loved about this book. I continued reading it because I kept assuming it would get better based on the opening page. That didn't happen though. At least not for me. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
This book started out really good but quickly petered out for me. Learning something of Saudi Arabia and Aramco was interesting. I enjoyed the character of Yash very much and thought he was well written. Beyond that the book was boring. The last quarter of the book where the mystery takes over I didn't find believable. Another reviewer stated that the book ended quickly like the author tired of it and I have to agree. Best decision the author made because I was tired of it as well. ( )
  flippinpages | Feb 10, 2014 |
So much to love about In the Kingdom of Men (and it came highly recommended by a dear friend whose opinions on such things I value and almost always agree with), but I couldn't quite warm to this novel. The setting--an Aramco compound and surrounds in late 1960s Arabia--is fascinating, and the details of that setting and the non-American minor characters who inhabited it were my favorite parts of the story. But the main characters--even the narrator, who seems like she ought to be at least interesting, if not wholly likeable--annoyed me. The writing is often lovely, but sometimes also so cloyingly precise as to feel maddeningly claustrophobic. I didn't care much about the characters (except the ones whose fates the story leaves unknowable), and I wanted to maneuver many of them off of a bridge. When I feel this way about a book--when I see so many good things about it and feel like I should like it better than I do--I often suspect that my dislike is at least partly--if not almost wholly--my fault rather than the writer's. Maybe it was just the wrong time. Maybe I was in the wrong mood. ( )
  lycomayflower | Dec 5, 2013 |
Wow... This book was bad... I do not understand why people like it. Whoever wrote the hook for it here on goodreads has some great writing skills because that's now how the book was at all. The mystery of the women washing up on shore didn't even come up until chapter 15 (of a 17 chapter book!). There were so many parts to this book that were absolutely unnecessary and basically just fluff and did nothing to add to the story. Ginny Mae seemed very superficial and I did not connect with her, nor any of the other characters like Mason, or Abdullah... The plot did not flow and it just felt like waiting and waiting for something that never happened. And let's not forget the ending... It was like the writer decided "I've had enough of this story; let's just end it completely random". Throwing her in Rome with little to no money or a way to support herself. Not only did it suck, it was also unreasonable and completely not believable. Very disappointed in this book. ( )
  wagrobanite | Sep 24, 2013 |
One of my friends lived in an ARAMCO compound during the 1960’s. The life depicted in THE KINGDOM OF MEN is much as she described it. Gin is running from a constricted life with a fundamentalist grandfather and finds herself living in the even more constricted fundamentalist Saudi kingdom. Even though she and her husband are living in luxurious surroundings, life for Gin is boring and racist for her husband.
By befriending both her driver and her houseboy Gin is in violation of both ARAMCO and Kingdom policies. Mason in attempting to live the ideals of Martin Luther King also violates policy and then uncovers greed and corruption. Both find themselves in fear for their lives and those of their friends. Although the ending is unsatisfying, the novel as a whole is worthwhile.
An interesting story with characters you like (and dislike) teaches a fair amount of history of the Kingdom and oil. Book groups will discuss fundamentalist religions, ethnic differences, the position of women in society, dealing with boredom, whistle blowers and company corruption, Americans in foreign societies, interactions between men and women and the price of gas. ( )
  beckyhaase | Aug 21, 2013 |
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We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
~Anais Nin
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
~Wesley Covenant Prayer
This is one way to make a new world.
~Wallace Stegner
For my brave and beautiful mother,
Claudette Barnes,
and with special thanks to
Coleen and Wayne Cook-
because of you, this adventure
First words
Here is the first thing you need to know about me:  I'm a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma, and all the marble floors in the world will never change that.
Here is the second thing:  That young woman they pulled from the Arabian shore, her hair tangled with mangrove - my husband didn't kill her, not the way they say he did.
I was learning the ways of men, their silence and refusal to speak of important things, things they believe too complicated for their women to hear.
"Freedom is an illusion of the imagination"
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"A young woman from the American South finds herself in the strange world of the Middle East after she marries an oil driller"--Provided by publisher.

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