His latest boook, The Return, has just been broadcast on BBC R 4.
It is heartbreaking and for that reason I don’t think I can now read the book. On the other hand, it is so heartbreaking that I know I must read it.
The Return is a memoir about his search for the father he fears he will never find.
In the Country of Men, a novel, is about a child’s search for his father. It ranks high in my chosen books and I have always been glad I read it. I am now reading it again.
It is about a marvellous man – the father in the story – who disappears from his home in Libya, is sought in Cairo and disappears again.
Since writing the novel, Matar has gone in search of his father again and so found out more about him. The memoir is about loss and also about the man who has been lost. Lost forever? Only the writer knows.
The final sentences in the radio broadcast were so powerful that I was left alone, in the silent kitchen, the only other person there with me Hisham Matar.