In the Kingdom of Men

Kim Barnes. Knopf, $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-307-27339-0
Barnes’s latest (after A Country Called Home) is an immersive and bracing exploration of one woman’s search for freedom amid repression. Suffocated by the patriarchal strictures of her 1960s evangelical Oklahoma home, Virginia Mitchell elopes with the noble Mason McPhee. They move first to Texas, where Mason works on an oil rig, and then to Saudi Arabia, where he is fast-tracked for management at Aramco. Gin bristles against the comfortable but circumscribed lives of the Aramco wives—suspended between the libertine sexual mores of the boozy expat community and the sexless, draconian prohibitions of the Saudi virtue police. When Mason organizes the Bedouin workers against the company’s abuses and stumbles onto a deadly coverup, Gin must brave a wilderness of corporate lawlessness to save him. Gin is a delightful heroine whose tenacity animates those around her, a quality that lays the groundwork for an extraordinary adventure and unsettling conclusion. Barnes deftly teases humanity out of corruption and hypocrisy, and her language is finely wrought and her pacing masterful—Gin’s story develops languidly, then draws taut as the stakes rise. Agent: Sally Wofford-Girand, Brick House Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 05/29/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 194 pages - 978-0-307-95837-2
Paperback - 321 pages - 978-0-307-47469-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-842-9
Hardcover - 978-1-4713-1073-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-61120-837-5
Hardcover - 455 pages - 978-1-61173-582-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-61120-841-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4481-3496-0
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