The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE * The acclaimed memoir about fathers and sons, a legacy of loss, and, ultimately, healing--one of The New York Times Book Review's ten best books of the year, winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. Hisham would never see him again, but he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father's disappearance. The Return is the story of what he found there.
The Pulitzer Prize citation hailed The Return as "a first-person elegy for home and father." Transforming his personal quest for answers into a brilliantly told universal tale of hope and resilience, Matar has given us an unforgettable work with a powerful human question at its core: How does one go on living in the face of unthinkable loss?
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times * The Washington Post * The Guardian * Financial Times
"A tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage. It simply must be read."--The Spectator (U.K.)
"Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read."--Zadie Smith
"[An] eloquent memoir . . . at once a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father's fate . . . 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
"This outstanding book . . . roves back and forth in time with a freedom that conceals the intricate precision of its art."--The Wall Street Journal
"Truly remarkable . . . a book with a profound faith in the consolations of storytelling . . . a testament to [Matar's] father, his family and his country."--The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. . . . Likely to become a classic."--Colm Tóibín
"Matar's evocative writing and his early traumas call to mind Vladimir Nabokov."--The Washington Post
"Utterly riveting."--The Boston Globe
"A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart."--Kazuo Ishiguro, The Guardian
"Beautiful . . . The Return, for all the questions it cannot answer, leaves a deep emotional imprint."--Newsday
"A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging, and above all, family. It is, as well, a study of the shaping--and breaking--of the bonds between fathers and sons. . . . This is writing of the highest quality."--The Sunday Times (U.K.)
Winner of Pulizter Prize for Biography 2017
Shortlisted for Costa Biography Award 2016
Shortlisted for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2016.
WINNER OF THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES' TOP 10 BOOKS OF 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.