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Hisham Matar Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

In the Country of Men (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anatomy of a Disappearance (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Friends (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Hisham Matar is a bestselling literary fiction author from the United States that is best known for his blockbuster novel “The Return.”

The author was born to Libyan immigrants in New York and lived in Cairo and Tripoli as a child and spent much of his adult life in London.

He penned “In the Country of Men” his debut work in 2006 and this work would win numerous prizes on the international stage and make the shortlist for prestigious prizes such as the First Book Award by the Guardian and the Man Booker Prize.

In 2016, he published The Return his prize-winning memoir that won all manner of awards. The work won the Geschwister Scholl Prize in Germany, the Best First Biography Prize by The Slightly Foxed, the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Pulitzer in 2017.

The popular novel has also been translated into more than thirty languages across the world. Outside of writing, Hisham is a Royal Society of Literature Fellow and works at Columbia University’s Barnard Colege as an associate professor of English.

The author Hisham Matar was born in New York City in 1970 as his father was then employed at the United Nations.

When he was three, the family moved back to Libya and he spent several years living in Tripoli. But it was a difficult time and they faced persecution from the Gaddafi regime.

In 1979, his father took the family to Cairo in Egypt where they lived for seven years before settling in London.

In London, Matar qualified as an architect but it was at this time that Jaballa his father who was a famous political dissident went missing in Cairo.

Believed to have been kidnapped, he has never been heard from again even though there are hints that suggest he may still be alive.

Hisham makes use of the incident as inspiration for “The Return,” his highly successful memoir that was published in 2016.

Matar began writing the manuscript for “In the Country of Men” his debut in the year 2000. By 2005, he was signed with Penguin International and published in 2006.

In 2008 he was made a Barnard University Adjunct Associate Professor and was also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge Girton College.

It was when Hisham Matar was in college as a nineteen-year-old in England that he began thinking of writing about his experiences.

With no hope of ever seeing his father again, he sat down to research the material for “The Return.” Twenty-two years after his father went missing, Gaddafi has fallen and most of the prison cells have been emptied.
But Jaballa his father was nowhere to be found. With Gaddafi gone, Matar went back to Libya with his mother and his new wife. It was a profound moment as he had believed he would never get the chance to ever visit Libya again.
The work that he would write soon after leaving Libya chronicles his experiences in his homeland.

It is a truly crisp meditation on art, politics, and history, an exceptional portrait of a people and nation on the cusp of major changes and a disquieting depiction of how absolute power can very easily turn brutal.
Above all, it made for a universal tale of love, loss, and family life.

Hisham Matar’s “The Return” is the National Book Critics Circle and Man Booker Prize award-winning work. It is the memoir of the author’s journey to Libya his homeland searching for answers about his father’s disappearance.
The author traveled to Libya in 2012 after the ouster of Gaddafi following an absence of more than thirty years. When he was just 12 Matar and his family had been forced into exile.

Nearly a decade later, his father who was a military man and former diplomat that became a political dissident went missing believed to have been kidnapped by the Libyan government.

However, most prisons have been emptied but Jaballa Matar cannot be found. Still, the author asserts that hope is usually the last to die as it is often cunning and stubbornly persistent.

Hisham writes a profound memoir that is an affecting and brilliant portrait of how absolute power can corrupt and result in people becoming monsters.

Hisham Matar’s work “In the Country of Men” is set in 1979 Libya where Suleiman is a nine-year-old constrained by the narrow rituals of childhood.

He lives for exotic gifts from his father who often goes on trips to Europe, games played with friends under the sun, and outings to the ruins all over the capital city of Tripoli.

While he could not have had happier days, his nights he has to live nightmarish nights as his mother often tells his stories filled with family bitterness going back decades.

Things turn interesting when Suleiman spots his father in a pair of dark sunglasses at the busy marketplace when he should have been abroad. He then sees him enter a strange building with some bizarre green windows.

It isn’t long before Suleiman finds himself in a complex world.

It is a world where the phone ringing may portend grave danger; where a stranger sits in a parked car all day asking sinister questions of him; where the father of his best friend can go missing and never be heard from again, where his mother decides to burn all the books he knows his father loves so much.

“Anatomy of a Disappearance” by Hisham Matar is the story of Nuri who loses his mother while still a young boy. He finds himself living in a Cairo apartment with so much emptiness that seemingly nothing can fill.

But then he meets a girl named Mona and as soon as he sees her, he knows things will never be the same again. The only problem is that Mona has fallen for Nuri’s father and the two eventually get married.

Their happiness gnaws at Nuri’s heart he just wishes that his father would just disappear. But the young man will soon come to regret as his father goes missing under mysterious circumstances as he has long been a political dissident.
As their world is shattered both Nuri and Mona come to realize that they knew so little about the man they loved.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Hisham Matar

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