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Anatomy of a Disappearance: A Novel Hardcover – August 23, 2011
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Praise for Anatomy of a Disappearance
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY:
Chicago Tribune • The Daily Beast • The Independent • The Guardian • The Telegraph • The Toronto Sun • Irish Times
“For Western readers, what often seemed lacking [in the coverage of the Arab Spring] was an authentic interpreter and witness, someone who could speak across cultures and make us feel the abundant miseries that fueled the revolt. No one plays this role, in my view, as powerfully, as Hisham Matar…Matar writes in English, in extraordinarily powerful and densely evocative prose: he seems uniquely poised to play the role of literary ambassador between two worlds…”--The New York Times
“Mesmerizing. . . . The recent events that have lent topicality to this elegiac novel might easily have swamped a lesser work. Its strength rests in Matar's decision to focus on emotional rather than material details, proving that in art, at least, the personal can trump the political.”—Houston Chronicle
“A haunting novel, exquisitely written and psychologically rich.”—Washington Post
“[A] potent new novel . . . which moves among eerily silent interiors in London, Cairo, and Geneva to evoke the emotional vacuum that follows [a] father’s abduction.”--Vogue
“Outstanding . . . with its stylistic echoes of Nabokov.”—The Irish Times
“Elegiac . . . [Hisham Matar] writes of a son’s longing for his lost father with heartbreaking acuity.”—Newsday
“A son without closure writes sparingly and brilliantly about what it is to suffer loss without end.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Eloquent . . . one of the most moving works based on a boy’s view of the world.”
“A searing vision of familial rupture and disintegration. . . . At once tough and tender, shaped by the sorrows of memory, Nuri's story is searching, acquiring power in its graceful acceptance of the impossibility of certainty. . . . An elegant and smart evocation of the complexities of filial love.”—«Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Two things stood out as I read Anatomy of a Disappearance. First, there was the quiet power of the language, and the author’s control of it. Second, there was Hisham Matar’s ability to tell a story that from the first sentence seems inevitable, yet is full of surprises. I was moved and very impressed.”—Roddy Doyle
“Sculpted in a prose of clutter-free, classical precision . . . a pure demonstration of the strange alchemy of fiction.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“A tenderly written novel with Shakespearean themes, it can be read as a deeply personal account of the losses that tyranny and exile produce.”—The Times Literary Supplement
“Haunting in every sense . . . An absorbing novel that finds its eloquence in what is left unsaid.”—The Sunday Times (London)
“Submerged grief gives this fine novel the mythic inexorability of Greek tragedy.”—The Economist
“A fable of loss, and an often troubling meditation on fathers and sons . . . Hisham Matar is writing from the heart.”—The Guardian (London)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
If you are seeking a profound revelation, this is not the book for you. If you are interested in the development of a character who develops in the aftermath of a political kidnapping this is a good choice. The book allows us to reflect on how we see each other and the relationships we form. It also makes us question how much we truly know ourselves and the others in our lives.
The victims of 9/11 are lucky that way. Their loss is marked. We stopped the world for a brief time to give them the solace of our joint recognition of their sorrow. All do not share their good fortune.
I was reminded of this reading a new book by Hisham Matar, Anatomy of a Disappearance, the story of a 14-year-old boy whose father was present in a shared world of hopes and dreams, and then, in an instant, was forever absence. There was no ceremony for this disappearance. Just silent sorrow expected to be borne without a lot of fuss and ado.
"The telephone continued to ring incessantly," Matar writes. The boy's father was kidnapped you see, swept away from the bed he shared with a woman by abductors suspected of targeting him because he was an outspoken critic of the third-world tyrant who ruled his country. "Then after a few days it grew quiet. Relatives and neighbors who might have filled the chairs in the hall if Father had died were silent in the face of his disappearance.... A great emptiness began to fill the place of my father. It became unbearable to hear his name."
That is what silent, unshared, unrecognized, uncelebrated grief looks like: It is a scar borne quietly, a scream no one hears, a rite of passage unaccompanied by the comforting ritual of a funeral.Read more ›
Alas, while the prose is still beautiful and I still admired the elegiac tone, this novel draws to a surprising degree on many of the same plot elements as Matar's debut. Again, we meet a young boy with an enigmatic, politically engaged father and the novel is set against the backdrop of troubles in the Arab world (although this time not always IN the Arab world.) In this case, the father seems to be a political exile (from Iraq, possibly? there is a reference to a murdered king) living partly in Switzerland and partly in Cairo. When Nuri's mother dies (another repetition: the mother figure has weaknesses that make her not a strong force in her son's life), it is through Nuri that his father meets the much-younger Mona, with whom the 12-year-old Nuri becomes obsessed. Two years later, it is at her side that he tries to understand what has happened to his father -- why he has been abducted in the middle of the night from the apartment of a woman no one has ever heard of before.
I have two entirely separate gripes with this novel that made me give it 3.5 stars. The first, obviously, is how uncannily similar these novels are. With five years separating their publication, couldn't Matar have mined some fresh material for a second book, especially when both are so short?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very touching and intriguing all the way through the novel. Can't wait to see HM's next piece of work. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Author Jackie #Kingon of chocolate #chocolate moons found it well written. It was also paced in a manner that kept you turning pages. A good read.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
The author evokes the aura of Cairo and his observations as a child -the devastation of the mysterious loss of a parent.Published 15 months ago by Kskorman
Beautifully written, but doesn't totally grab me.Read it over several weeks instead of needing to turn every page.Published 16 months ago by Judy Hammond
I struggled with this book. I am not a fan of the DNF club and always make it a point to finish a book no matter how painful because I subscribe to the belief that it will get... Read morePublished on June 30, 2014 by Julie
This was spellbinding. Believable as well. I kept hoping they would find the lost soul. Good read. Short but well written.Published on February 16, 2014 by Red Top