THE RETURN, fathers, sons and the land in between

: Matar (H.)

R 240.00
- +

280pp., paperback, Reprint, London, (2016) 2017


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize. Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize.

When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing in under mysterious circumstances. Twenty-two years later, he returned to Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance.

"Hisham Matar has the quality all historians - of the world and the self - most need: he knows how to stand back and lettuce past speak. In chronicling his quest for his father his manner is fastidious, even detached, but his anger is raw and unreconciled; through his narrative art he bodies out the shape of loss, and gives a universality to his very particular experience of desolation. The Return reads as easily as a thriller, but is a story that will stick; a person is lost but gravity and resonance remain." Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

"Matar has a reserve that only makes his way with intimacy all the more moving. Critics like to call books unflinching but the point about this one is that its author flinches all the time; it’s in his turning away that we feel his unfathomable sorrow, not in those moments when he describes, as he sometimes must, all the unspeakable ways in which the regime liked to torture its prisoners ... Matar's book is bound by a magnificent gentleness, a softness and care the readers experience as a blessing. Where did it come from, this humanity, this wisdom? ... As I read, this was how I came to think of his son, too. Straight-backed; dignified; worn-down, and yet so generously and miraculously easy on the page." Rachel Cooke, Guardian

"The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. It draws a memorable portrait of a family in exile and manages also to explore the politics of Libya with subtlety and steely intelligence. It is a quest for the truth in a dark time, constructed with a novelist’s skill, written in tones that are both precise and passionate. Likely to become a classic.” Colm Tóibín, author and Chancellor of the University of Liverpool

Born in New York City to Libyan parents, Hisham Matar spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo and has lived most of his adult life in London. He is the author of the novels In the Country of Men (winner of the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, a Commonwealth First Book Award, the Premio Flaiano and the Premio Gregor von Rezzori) and Anatomy of a Disappearance. He lives in London and New York.