The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between

Author(s): Hisham Matar


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.


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Winner of Pulizter Prize for Biography 2017

Shortlisted for Costa Biography Award 2016

Shortlisted for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2016.



What a brilliant book. 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 It is likely to become a classic. -- Colm Toibin Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read -- Zadie Smith A total work of art. It reminded me of Solzhenitsyn. It is of the same importance. I love it. -- James Rebanks Bristles with arresting wisdom -- Jeremy Paxman A treasure for the ages -- Peter Carey Tremendously powerful -- Nadeem Aslam A magnificent memoir of exile and loss -- Rawi Hage One of the essential books of our times -- Adam Foulds A profound and powerful meditation on love, loss and exile Sunday Express A truly remarkable book Daily Telegraph Stands comparison with the best literature of exile Prospect [An] extraordinary memoir -- Financial Times Marvellously well-handled memoir Evening Standard A tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage Spectator A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging and, above all, family. Book of the Week, Sunday Times Beautifully written Economist Exquisite Observer An astonishing political thriller Mail on Sunday [A] profound work of witnessing and grief... leaves a deep emotional imprint Newsday A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart by the savage realities of today's middle east -- Kazuo Ishiguro I have always admired Matar's tender and compassionate but equally strong and compelling voice -- Elif Shafak Mr. Matar is not a wonderful writer because his father disappeared or because his homeland is a mess: he is a brilliant narrative architect and prose stylist, his pared-down approach and measured pace a striking complement to the emotional tumult of his material ... This book is an extraordinary gift for us all Wall Street Journal Breathtaking memoir... an elegy by a son who, through his eloquence, defies the men who wanted to erase his father and gifts him with a kind of immortality Washington Post 10 Best Books of 2016 The Return moved me to tears and taught me about love and home -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Guardian Books of the Year A desolating and powerful account of his son's search for his father, in life and death -- Hilary Mantel New Statesman Books of the Year Is it a sign, or a consequence, of this dreadful year that the best books displayed stern lucidity in the face of darkness and death? Hisham Matar's search for his "disappeared" father in The Return (note how badly British politicians come out of it) -- Julian Barnes Guardian Books of the Year A masterpiece ... Its concision and reserve only heighten the power of a gripping and agonising story -- Alan Hollinghurst Guardian Books of the Year The Return is the self portrait of a haunting, a kind of political ghost story - made more unbearable by the beauty of its prose Daily Telegraph Books of the Year The intelligence and grace of Matar's writing is fuelled by a fierce and valid rage -- Rupert Thomson Observer Books of the Year For Matar, hope depends on individuals and families standing by cherished values -- Jonathan Benthall Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year A haunting and terrifying story, told with courage, anger, dignity and unswerving determination -- Blake Morrison Guardian Books of the Year Among the best of the year's writing... This book is his masterful ink-stained resistance The Sunday Times

Born in New York to Libyan parents, Hisham Matar spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo and has lived most of his adult life in England. His debut novel In the Country of Men was published in twenty-nine languages and won numerous international prizes as well as being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, was published to great acclaim in 2011. He lives in London and New York.

General Fields

  • : 9780241966280
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : July 2016
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : April 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hisham Matar
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : en
  • : 961.2042092
  • : 304