LISTENER

D. Christopher D'Guerra

cremona, italy
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  • The Return

  • Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between
  • By: Hisham Matar
  • Narrated by: Hisham Matar
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 541
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 542

When Hisham Matar was a 19-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 were empty, and there was no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returned with his mother and wife to the homeland he never thought he'd go back to again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Touching memoir. Consider hard copy

  • By Joschka Philipps on 02-22-18

A meditation on love and loss

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-26-16

Where does The Return rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very much at the top!

What other book might you compare The Return to and why?

I don't read very many memoirs because I find they hold my attention less so than great fiction. But this one gripped me from the very first page and kept me riveted to the page till the very end.

Have you listened to any of Hisham Matar’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first time I have listened to Matar and I found his reading truly remarkable. His distinctive accent, I suppose a mix of English and Arabic, coupled with the slow, measured pace of the delivery made the listening experience a rapturous one. Matar recounts how his father used to recite poetry at social gatherings, and later when he was captive in prison. The author has clearly inherited his father's gift.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were so many. Here is one from the beginning. When Matar went to boarding school in England, he went under a false name and a false background, as a Christian Egyptian. There he befriends a Libyan Muslim: it is only at the end of their schooling that he confesses his true identity to his friend.

Any additional comments?

The language here is so lovely, akin to reading poetry. And Matar gave me insights on how to observe art.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful