Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance

My review of Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance appears in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. It begins:

Hisham Matar's second novel is at once a probing mystery of a father's disappearance and a vivid coming-of-age story. Matar, whose celebrated first novel "In the Country of Men" was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2006, returns to the theme of the missing father in "Anatomy of a Disappearance."   Matar's own father was abducted and vanished in Libya in 2002.

Sigmund Freud would have been intrigued -- as the Oedipus Complex pulls the undercurrents of this dreamlike, mournful, deeply sensuous novel. The first sentence heralds a complex father-son relationship: "there are times when my father's absence is as heavy as a child sitting on my chest."

The narrator, Nuri el-Alfi, begins his story at age 14, when he and his father, Kamal, meet the lovely Mona, closer in age to the son than his widower father. "I saw her first," Nuri will claim, as if to justify what will transpire between them.
read on....

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