All posts tagged: Hisham

Hisham Matar: ‘We all go through a lot. I’m wary of having “material”’ | Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar: ‘We all go through a lot. I’m wary of having “material”’ | Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar, 53, was born in New York to Libyan parents and raised in Tripoli, Cairo and London, the place he has lived most since his mid-teens. His two previous novels, In the Country of Men (shortlisted for the 2006 Booker) and Anatomy of a Disappearance, are both narrated by boys whose father is abducted – an experience that is the basis of Matar’s Pulitzer-winning memoir The Return (2016), about the political imprisonment and probable murder of his own father, who opposed Muammar Gaddafi. In Matar’s new book, My Friends, a Libyan exile takes a walk across London while talking us through his youth and middle age, from his 80s student days to Gaddafi’s fall in 2011. For Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez, it’s Matar’s “most political novel, but also an intimate meditation on friendship and love and everything in between”. How did My Friends begin?Unusually slowly. Years ago, when I was in Paris writing In the Country of Men, I wrote on the back of an envelope a very simple two-line idea for a …

My Friends by Hisham Matar review – the pain of exile | Fiction

My Friends by Hisham Matar review – the pain of exile | Fiction

In March 2011 the head of a school in London asks one of her teachers, Khaled, who is from Libya, to give a presentation to students on the unfolding movement soon to be known as the Arab spring. No, he says, he’d rather not. He doesn’t “know much about politics”. The lie is transparent. As Khaled’s friend Hosam says to him, history is a “tide” and no one from their country can swim away from it. “We are in it and of it.” Hisham Matar’s own life has been cruelly disrupted by that tide. His justly acclaimed work of nonfiction The Return described his father’s abduction by Gaddafi’s forces, his disappearance into the dictator’s prisons, and Matar’s decades-long quest to discover his fate. That book’s content was shocking, but its manner was quiet and tentative, all the more powerful for meeting brutality not with anger but with sadness. This novel is equally delicate, intellectually and emotionally, and equally bold in its formal arrangement. Three young Libyan men, in exile in London, become friends, become estranged, …