But, if I can scold you for not having read Beer in the Snooker Club, an English-language classic by Waguih Ghali, then I suppose I can let you know that Matar has a promising-sounding new book on the way. The book is due out in the U.K. in March from Viking and the U.S. this coming August.
The title is Anatomy of a Disappearance, and the promotional blurb goes as such:
Nuri is a young boy when his mother dies. It seems that nothing will fill the emptiness that her strange death leaves behind in the Cairo apartment he shares with his father. Until Mona. When Nuri first sees Mona, sitting in her bright yellow swimsuit by the pool of the Magda Marina holiday resort, the rest of the world vanishes. But it is Nuri’s father with whom Mona falls in love and who she will eventually marry. And their happiness consumes Nuri to the point where he longs to get his father out of the way. However, Nuri will soon regret what he wished for. And, as he and his stepmother’s world is shattered by events beyond their control, they both begin to realise how little they really knew about the man they loved. In a voice that is delicately wrought and beautifully tender, Hisham Matar asks, in his extraordinary new novel, when a loved one disappears how does their absence shape the lives of those who are left?
The book presumably draws on Matar’s personal history: In 1990, his father, Jaballa Matar, was kidnapped in Cairo and extradited to Tripoli as a political dissident. Since then, his family heard little about Jaballa Matar’s fate; Hisham described the torturous silence in a piece for the Gaurdian this past January.