The Return (Pulitzer Prize Winner): Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between

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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE The acclaimed memoir about fathers and sons, a legacy of loss, and, ultimately, healing—one of The New York Times Book Review’s ten best books of the year, winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. Hisham would never see him again, but he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance. The Return is the story of what he found there.

The Pulitzer Prize citation hailed The Return as “a first-person elegy for home and father.” Transforming his personal quest for answers into a brilliantly told universal tale of hope and resilience, Matar has given us an unforgettable work with a powerful human question at its core: How does one go on living in the face of unthinkable loss?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Guardian • Financial Times

“A tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage. It simply must be read.”The Spectator (U.K.)

“Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read.”—Zadie Smith

“[An] eloquent memoir . . . at once a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father’s fate . . . and a son’s efforts to come to terms with his father’s ghost, who has haunted more than half his life by his absence.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“This outstanding book . . . roves back and forth in time with a freedom that conceals the intricate precision of its art.”The Wall Street Journal

“Truly remarkable . . . a book with a profound faith in the consolations of storytelling . . . a testament to [Matar’s] father, his family and his country.”The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. . . . Likely to become a classic.”—Colm Tóibín

“Matar’s evocative writing and his early traumas call to mind Vladimir Nabokov.”—The Washington Post

“Utterly riveting.”The Boston Globe

“A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart.”—Kazuo Ishiguro, The Guardian

“Beautiful . . . The Return, for all the questions it cannot answer, leaves a deep emotional imprint.”Newsday

“A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging, and above all, family. It is, as well, a study of the shaping—and breaking—of the bonds between fathers and sons. . . . This is writing of the highest quality.”The Sunday Times (U.K.)
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About the author

Born in New York City to Libyan parents, Hisham Matar spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo and has lived most of his adult life in London. His debut novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won numerous international prizes, including the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, a Commonwealth First Book Award, the Premio Flaiano, and the Premio Gregor von Rezzori. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, published in 2011, was named one of the best books of the year by The Guardian and the Chicago Tribune. His work has been translated into twenty-nine languages. He lives in London and New York.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jul 5, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780812994834
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Parenting / Fatherhood
Political Science / World / Middle Eastern
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Every father of a special needs child should read” this memoir by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Friday Night Lights (Temple Grandin).
 
Buzz Bissinger’s twins were born just three minutes apart, yet life couldn’t have dealt them more different hands. Now grown, Gerry is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His twin brother, Zach, has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.
 
Buzz realized that while he’d been an attentive father, he didn’t fully understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night, the two hit the road to revisit all the places they had lived together in Zach’s twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes the experience will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son’s mind and heart. The trip becomes a personal journey for Buzz, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.
 
As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America—and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, and with the help of both of his twins, learns a vital lesson: Character transcends intellect.
 
 
In the Fall of 1970, at the start of eighth grade, Peter Selgin fell in love with the young teacher who’d arrived from Oxford wearing Frye boots, with long blond hair, and a passion for his students that was as intense as it was rebellious. The son of an emotionally remote inventor, Peter was also a twin competing for the attention and affection of his parents. He had a burning need to feel special.

The new teacher supplied that need. Together they spent hours in the teacher’s carriage house, discussing books, playing chess, drinking tea, and wrestling. They were inseparable, until the teacher “resigned” from his job and left. Over the next ten years Peter and the teacher corresponded copiously and met occasionally, their last meeting ending in disaster. Only after the teacher died did Peter learn that he’d done all he could to evade his past, identifying himself first as an orphaned Rhodes Scholar, and later as a Native American.

As for Peter’s father, the genius with the English accent who invented the first dollar-bill changing machine, he was the child of Italian Jews—something else Peter discovered only after his death. Paul Selgin and the teacher were both self-inventors, creatures of their own mythology, inscrutable men whose denials and deceptions betrayed the trust of the boy who looked up to them.

The Inventors is the story of a man’s search for his father and a boy’s passionate relationship with his teacher, of how these two enigmas shaped that boy’s journey into manhood, filling him with a sense of his own unique destiny. It is a story of promises kept and broken as the author uncovers the truth—about both men, and about himself. For like them—like all of us—Peter Selgin, too, is his own inventor.
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Backlash, comes In the Darkroom, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age.

“In the summer of 2004 I set out to investigate someone I scarcely knew, my father. The project began with a grievance, the grievance of a daughter whose parent had absconded from her life. I was in pursuit of a scofflaw, an artful dodger who had skipped out on so many things—obligation, affection, culpability, contrition. I was preparing an indictment, amassing discovery for a trial. But somewhere along the line, the prosecutor became a witness.”

So begins Susan Faludi’s extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of identity in the modern world and in her own haunted family saga. When the feminist writer learned that her 76-year-old father—long estranged and living in Hungary—had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

Faludi chases that mystery into the recesses of her suburban childhood and her father’s many previous incarnations: American dad, Alpine mountaineer, swashbuckling adventurer in the Amazon outback, Jewish fugitive in Holocaust Budapest. When the author travels to Hungary to reunite with her father, she drops into a labyrinth of dark histories and dangerous politics in a country hell-bent on repressing its past and constructing a fanciful—and virulent—nationhood. The search for identity that has transfixed our century was proving as treacherous for nations as for individuals.

Faludi’s struggle to come to grips with her father’s metamorphosis takes her across borders—historical, political, religious, sexual--to bring her face to face with the question of the age: Is identity something you “choose,” or is it the very thing you can’t escape?

This mesmerizing literary novel is written with all the emotional precision and intimacy that have won Hisham Matar tremendous international recognition. In a voice that is delicately wrought and beautifully tender, he asks: When a loved one disappears, how does that absence shape the lives of those who are left?
 
“A haunting novel, exquisitely written and psychologically rich.”—The Washington Post
 
Nuri is a young boy when his mother dies. It seems that nothing will fill the emptiness her death leaves behind in the Cairo apartment he shares with his father—until they meet Mona, sitting in her yellow swimsuit by the pool of the Magda Marina hotel. As soon as Nuri sees Mona, the rest of the world vanishes. But it is Nuri’s father with whom Mona falls in love and whom she eventually marries. Their happiness consumes Nuri to the point where he wishes his father would disappear. Nuri will, however, soon regret what he’s wished for. When his father, a dissident in exile from his homeland, is abducted under mysterious circumstances, the world that Nuri and his stepmother share is shattered. And soon they begin to realize how little they knew about the man they both loved.
 
“At once a probing mystery of a father’s disappearance and a vivid coming-of-age story . . . This novel is compulsively readable.”—The Plain Dealer
 
“Studded with little jewels of perception, deft metaphors and details that illuminate character or set a scene.”—The New York Times
 
“One of the most moving works based on a boy’s view of the world.”—Newsweek
 
“Elegiac . . . [Hisham Matar] writes of a son’s longing for a lost father with heartbreaking acuity.”—Newsday
 
Don’t miss the conversation between Hisham Matar and Hari Kunzru at the back of the book. 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE
Chicago Tribune • The Daily Beast • The Independent • The Guardian • The Daily Telegraph • Toronto Sun • The Irish Times
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men.
Drawing on her thirty years' experience practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine, teen health expert Dr. Meg Meeker explains why an active father figure is maybe the single most important factor in a young woman's development. In this invaluable guide, Meeker shows how a father can be both counsel and protector for his daughter as she grows into a spiritually and mentally strong young woman.

From cradling his newborn to walking her down the aisle, a father must relish his paramount responsibility—guiding the course of his daughter’s life. Meeker reveals

• how a man can become a "strong father"
• how a father's guidance influences every part of a woman's life, from her self-respect to her perspective on drugs, alcohol, and sex
• how to lay down ground rules that are respected without creating distance in your relationship with your daughter
• why you need to be your daughter's hero
• the mistakes most fathers make and their serious consequences
• how to help daughters make their own good decisions and avoid disastrous mistakes
• how a father's faith will influence his daughter's spiritual development
• how to get through to you daughter, even during her toughest don't-talk-to-me years
• true stories of daughters who were on the wrong path—and how their fathers helped to bring them back

Learn how to grow, strengthen, or rebuild your relationship with your daughter to better both your life and hers in the bestselling Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.
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