Publisher's Note:  

From the author of In the Country of Men, a Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, comes an extraordinary memoir of his journey home to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance.
When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-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 are empty and there is no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returns 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?

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House

The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between

by Hisham Matar

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between is a memoir written by Man Booker Prize finalist Hisham Matar. Eloquent and touching, the book follows Matar's travels to Libya in search of answers to his father's disappearance. Matar shares gut-wrenching details about his past in Libya, Egypt and England and his present struggle for truth. Matar also explains what happened to his extended family when they dared oppose Muammar Gaddafi. The novel's prose is stunningly beautiful, and Matar sprinkles in Libyan history to provide needed context and educate readers. My only complaint with this emotionally charged book is that it ends rather suddenly. The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between is heart-breaking yet powerful, as Matar's writing shines a light on Libya and its war crimes. 

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 3 religious exclamations, 3 mild obscenities, 2 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A few brief implied occurrences of violence; frequent secondhand reports of violence involving murder, torture, imprisonment, massacre, hangings, stepping on a IED, and other Libyan war crimes; a few brief scenes of violence regarding sheep being slaughtered and gunfights; a few brief non-detailed scenes of violent death included a train crash, bike collision, gunshot wounds and hangings; a brief scene of blood and gore; a few brief scenes of intense violence regarding sniper fire and a prison massacre. 

Sex/Nudity:  An incident of kissing; a few sexual references regarding prostitutes.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death of family members and friends, war, kidnappings, assassinations, torture, genocide, massacres, concentration camps, desecration of corpses, murder, imprisonment, thoughts of suicide. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Frequent drinking and smoking. 

Reviewed By Rachel
No image available