Category Archives: Adult Fiction

Book Review: In The Kingdom Of Men, by Kim Barnes.

“Behind every man is a woman with a story to tell…”

Funny story: I bought this book for £1, and it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Given what I payed for this book, you’d expect it to be bad, too, right?

In The Kingdom of Men is an intriguing story about the oppression of women and men alike, and one woman in particular – Gin McPhee, and her journey of self-discovery as she settles into her brand new life, far from home.
However, while the story may focus on Gin, there is a much bigger picture than just her.

The story takes place in Saudi Arabia, in the 1960s, and tackles many important issues of the time. The same issues are still around today, but to a much lesser degree – racism, sexism, other assorted ‘isms.’ Essentially, equality.

The book was a very easy read, even with occasional pieces of Arabic popping up now and then. It was very direct and to the point, which enabled to story to move at a very brisk pace.
However, a large chunk of the story seemed rather irrelevant to me. It didn’t stop the story or anything, I simply feel as though Kim could have gone without it.

Speaking of Kim going without things, I found something very rare with this book, and that is the extremity of her economy. Most books have a lot of extra, unnecessary words and such, and that’s excusable. Some books have spot on economy and make every word count. This book, however, has gone way over the top.
Kim has elected to skip over so many words, in order to make her novel more direct and snappy. It did not work. Instead, it comes across as, not only stupid, a lot of it not making that much sense, but also lazy and poorly written.

The story and characters are both interesting. With a variety of personalities, and some fantastic character development, there is little complaint to give. Seeing Gin, not only breaking the chains of her grandfather, her past, her home, and sexism, we also see her grow into a three-dimensional woman, and develop as a person.
It’s not only the characters that vary. Incorporating so many genres and stories into one book – crime, thriller, romance, comedy, sadness, anger, hate, oppression, and many more, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Amazingly, even with the high number of things transpiring, the book is neither overfilled, nor confusing.

 Aside from the missing words interrupting the flow of the book, and the irrelevant parts of the book, it was amazing. Hats off to you, Kim.

I’d recommend this to an older demographic, but young-adults may enjoy it, too. After all, I did. As for a specific readership, I’m not too sure I can peg it down. There are too many different aspects to the book to stick it to a single audience.