A breathtaking memoir and an extraordinary testament to the human spirit.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
WINNER OF THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES' TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2016
The Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale. It is an exquisite meditation on how history and politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Hisham Matar's memoir isn't just about the burden of the past, but the consolation of love, literature and art. It is the story of what it is to be human.
Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. In this moving memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, both physical and psychological; a journey to find his father and rediscover his country.
“A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart”
Kazuo Ishiguro, Guardian
“Cutting back and forth in time between the near present, Mr. Matar's childhood memories of growing up in Libya, and pieced-together accounts of his father's work as an opposition leader and his imprisonment . . . At once, a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father's fate at the hands of a brutal dictatorship, and a son's efforts to come to terms with his father's ghost, who has haunted more than half his life by his absence. A haunting memoir about one family, and one son's search for his father”
New York Times
“Moving, truly remarkable, thrilling, gripping. From his anger, suffering, and grief, Matar has built a testament to his father, his family and his country”
“Matar has forged a memoir that in its nuance and nobility bears unforgettable witness to love, to courage and to humanity”
“A story of terrible deeds, but also a tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage. It must be read”
“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? Straight-backed; dignified; worn down, and yet so generously and miraculously easy on the page”
“I love this book more than I can put into words. It is stunning, brilliant, touching, proud and noble. A hymn to a father and to decency itself, in the midst of hell. And a total work of art”
“A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging and, above all, family. In The Return, Matar's sentences are a testimony to the love of a son for his father, and the power of art in a tortured, crumbling world”
“One of the essential books of our times”