An extraordinary memoir of a son's search for his father and the return to a homeland he never thought he'd see again 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, after the fall of Gaddafi, Hisham was finally able to return to his homeland for the first time. In this heart-breaking, illuminating memoir he describes his return to a country and a family he thought he would never see again. The Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale of loss. It is an exquisite meditation on history, politics and art. It's the story of what it is to be human.
Shortlisted for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2016.
Short-listed 2016 Costa Biography Award
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 A total work of art. It reminded me of Solzhenitsyn. It is of the same importance. I love it. -- James Rebanks Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read -- Zadie Smith 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
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.