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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in…

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (2016)

by Hisham Matar

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3191853,678 (3.84)54
"In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years. When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar's father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime's most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballah Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is "persistent and cunning." This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power"--… (more)



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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
A fascinating memoir/history lesson/thriller. Shines a light on dark periods for both Libya and Britain for our complicity in Gaddafi’s misdeeds. My main struggle was warming to the author himself, as his pretentiousness stood in such stark contrast to the heroism of his family members he records. ( )
  alexrichman | Feb 22, 2019 |
A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons
  Egaro | Jul 24, 2018 |
Under the current political climate of the U.S. and the world, I have made a reading goal for myself to read more books about politics worldwide. I received The Return through a Good Reads giveaway.

This book blew me away, I was in middle school during the fall of Qaddafi and remember bits and pieces of news and headlines. The stories of throughout this book of the men and women resisting his leadership show the courage, patriotism and love they had for their country and their people. The horrors the author shared, of other prisoners stories and the horrors he and his family faced in trying to find out what happened to his father are heartbreaking.

I highly recommend this book to anyone! ( )
  franklda | Jul 15, 2018 |
I found this book a bit disjointed...it skips around in time and i was occasionally confused as to who was where at the moment. In spite of that, it is a very powerful, honest book about what it is like to lose a father and to live with the uncertainty of never knowing, for sure, what happened to him. It also provides a look into what life was like in Libya, something I knew little about. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 29, 2018 |
A sad story but didn't work for me. After reading about this book I thought I absolutely had to read it. While studying at university in London, author Matar's father is kidnapped. Matar never sees his father again (this is not a spoiler as it's on the flap and was noted in several book previews). Yet the author hopes that his father might very well be alive, despite the horrors of the Gaddafi's regime. The book is the story of his journey and his search.
The book was a struggle. I really wanted to like it (perhaps that's not quite the right word, considering the content...) but I found it was a difficult to get into. There is a bit of an emotional distance and the book seems to meander here and there. I understand his actual journey was probably something like this (where does one to begin when so much time has passed and when the jailer has no care for keeping "records".
It could be very much a matter of style. I had thought (and maybe expected too much) that this book would be more straightforward retelling of his story. I didn't find the writing as beautiful as others did and honestly found it to be a distraction. Overall, the book wasn't for me.
Glad I borrowed this one from the library. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
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