(K. Brent Tomer),
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between.By Hisham Matar.Random House; 276 pages; $26.. Buy from Amazon.co.uk (ISBN=unknown)
“EVEN today,” writes Hisham Matar (pictured) of Libya’s troubled history, “to be Libyan is to live with questions.” The same, of course, could apply to those Western politicians who applauded the fall of Qaddafi, and now see a failed state just across the Mediterranean from Italy, providing fresh territory for Islamic State and exporting desperate migrants to seek a better future in Europe.
Mr Matar’s questions, however, go well beyond politics. This beautifully written memoir deals with the nature of family, the emotions of exile and the ties that link the present with the past—in particular the son with his father, Jaballa Matar. Is Jaballa still alive somewhere in a post-Qaddafi dungeon, or did he die in the 1996 massacre of 1,270 inmates of Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim prison? Can the son contrive some certainty from the scraps of conflicting information garnered over the decades since 1990, when…Continue reading