Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2017
From the author of In the Country of Men, a Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, comes a beautifully written, uplifting memoir of his journey home to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father's disappearance.
When Hisham Matar was a 19-year-old university student in England, his father was kidnapped. One of the Qaddafi regime's most prominent opponents in exile, he was held in a secret prison in Libya. Hisham would never see him again. But he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. "Hope," as he writes, "is cunning and persistent." Twenty-two years later, after the fall of Qaddafi, the prison cells were empty, and there was no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returned with his mother and wife to the homeland he never thought he'd go back to again.
The Return is the story of what he found there. It is at once an exquisite meditation on history, politics, and art; a brilliant portrait of a nation and a people on the cusp of change; and a disquieting depiction of the brutal legacy of absolute power. Above all, it is a universal tale of loss and love and of one family's life. Hisham Matar asks the harrowing question: How does one go on living in the face of a loved one's uncertain fate?
Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2017
“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. It is likely to become a classic.” (Colm Tóibín)
“A triumph of art over tyranny, structurally thrilling, intensely moving, The Return is a treasure for the ages.” (Peter Carey)
“What a brilliant book. Hisham Matar has the quality all historians - of the world and the self - most need: He knows how to stand back and let the 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.” (Hilary Mantel)
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A powerful and affecting memoir
Predominantly Flat and Political