The Return

The Return

eBook - 2016
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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 nineteen-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 are empty and there is no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returns 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? Praise for The Return "[Matar] writes with both a novelist's eye for physical and emotional detail, and a reporter's tactile sense of place and time. The prose is precise, economical, chiseled; the narrative elliptical, almost musical. . . . The Return is, 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." ?Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times " The Return is a personal memoir, concerned with the kidnap and disappearance of the writer's father at the hands of the Qaddafi regime. It is wise and agonizing and thrilling to read." ?Zadie Smith "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. 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 " 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 T?ib?n "A triumph of art over tyranny, structurally thrilling, intensely moving, The Return is a treasure for the ages." ?Peter Carey " The Return is tremendously powerful. Although it filled me with rage again and again, I never lost sight of Matar's beautiful intelligence as he tried to get to the heart of the mystery. I am so very grateful he has written this book." ?Nadeem Aslam From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Random House Publishing Group, 2016.
ISBN: 9780812994834
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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gale37
Dec 15, 2017

This is a testament to the perseverance of a son to find the truth about his father's disappearance while coming to accept his death as inevitable. The lies and manipulation of the heir to and hangers-on of a corrupt, cruel regime are related in detail. It is Written in a unique, controlled style. I highly recommend this work of Matar.

SquamishLibraryStaff Dec 01, 2017

In this poignant and deeply moving memoir, Hisham Matar proves that he is a talented writer as he explores how political events and a power hungry regime can hold its people hostage to the cruelties and whims of the regime.

In 'The return', Hisham Matar describes his journey in trying to find out what happened to his father, Jaballa Matar, who was imprisoned by the Qaddafi regime in 1990. Hisham Matar recounts the recent history of Libya along with the history of his own family in relation to Libya.

vpazreads Oct 16, 2017

Though the book helped me understand more about the politics, culture and history of Libya, the writing style seemed to lack focus at times. The author's grief and longing are palpable, but at times the emotion was overshadowed by a structure that seemed to be more stream-of-consciousness than planned.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 07, 2017

This is the third book by Matar about the disappearance of his father, a wealthy businessman and member of the Libyan elite who opposed Qaddafi and who was kidnapped, was imprisoned and disappeared. This book is a memoir about Matar's return to Libya after the downfall of Qaddafi to discover when and how his father died. Matar seems somewhat naïve politically and provides no broader context. The book seemed padded in places (irrelevant descriptions). The grief of privilege.

j
jangelucci
Dec 28, 2016

Beautifully written and very compelling, this book reads more like fiction. In my reading, I often make a note of a great turn of phrase or clever use of words that makes a point so well that there's no way it could be misconstrued. It normally happens once or twice to me in a book, but in this book I stopped counting after it got into double digits. After everyone I'd say to myself jealously, "I wish I had I written that sentence!"
This family's strength and dignity in the face of unimaginable circumstances affected me profoundly.

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