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The Return Audiobook

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2017

From the author of In the Country of Men, a Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, comes a beautifully written, uplifting memoir of his journey home to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father's disappearance.

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.

The Return is the story of what he found there. It is at once an exquisite meditation on history, politics, and art; a brilliant portrait of a nation and a people on the cusp of change; and a disquieting depiction of the brutal legacy of absolute power. Above all, it is a universal tale of loss and love and of one family's life. Hisham Matar asks the harrowing question: How does one go on living in the face of a loved one's uncertain fate?

©2016 Hisham Matar (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2017

The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. It draws a memorable portrait of a family in exile and manages also to explore the politics of Libya with subtlety and steely intelligence. It is a quest for the truth in a dark time, constructed with a novelist's skill, written in tones that are both precise and passionate. It is likely to become a classic.” (Colm Tóibín)

“A triumph of art over tyranny, structurally thrilling, intensely moving, The Return is a treasure for the ages.” (Peter Carey)

“What a brilliant book. Hisham Matar has the quality all historians - of the world and the self - most need: He knows how to stand back and let the past speak. In chronicling his quest for his father, his manner is fastidious, even detached, but his anger is raw and unreconciled; through his narrative art he bodies out the shape of loss and gives a universality to his very particular experience of desolation.” (Hilary Mantel)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (148 )
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4.6 (137 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bryan westmount, Quebec, Canada 09-20-17
    Bryan westmount, Quebec, Canada 09-20-17 Member Since 2011
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    "A powerful and affecting memoir"

    Matar writes seamlessly from the heart and head. A powerful and concisely told story that puts a human face on Libya.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharey 09-05-17
    Sharey 09-05-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Predominantly Flat and Political "

    This was rather dry and overly politically-oriented than suits my taste. It is an intelligent discourse, however, but I must admit that I did not find it as interesting as I had anticipated. It lacked a warmth necessary to engage this reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jacob 05-23-17
    jacob 05-23-17
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    "slow at the beginning, but so worth it."

    Slow at the beginning, but so worth it. No one was better to read it than the writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Two Fathoms where in the world are you? 04-13-17
    Two Fathoms where in the world are you? 04-13-17 Member Since 2016

    egyptianmusk

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    "a beautiful book, and a perfect reading by the aut"

    Matar is a master storyteller, beautifully and lyrically intertwining social and personal loss. and he narrated the story incredibly well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laundry lady 03-10-17

    laundry_lady

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    "The author's own voice"

    Hisham Matar's voice is haunting and authentic. You hear all the names and places pronounced as intended. Placing Tony Blair in the Libyan circle of influence is chilling.
    As much as his novel, Country of Men continues to haunt me 5 years after I read it, this autobiographical narrative is historically relevant beyond mere words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Christopher D'Guerra cremona, italy 12-26-16
    D. Christopher D'Guerra cremona, italy 12-26-16 Member Since 2017
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    "A meditation on love and loss"
    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.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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