Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Anatomy of a Disappearance

I just finished reading "Anatomy of a Disappearance," and I'm happy to say that I really, really enjoyed it.

It was much different from any book I'd read recently, and much... deeper.

Read on for my 2c book review.

I stumbled upon this book, almost literally, as I was at the downtown branch of the Chicago Public Library.  I was returning two overdue books (whoops), and because they were overdue, I couldn't place books on hold, and therefore didn't have anything to pick up.  Since I have a 20-30 minute bus ride each day, I make a good effort to always have a book on my person.

Anyway, I'm at the library and I see this book on the "recently returned" shelf, about ready to be returned to its normal spot.  I grabbed it, read the inside cover, and barely put it down for the next three days.

Here's the summary from Wikipedia: The book follows the story of Nuri, a teenager living in exile with his family in Cairo.  After the sudden death of his mother, he also loses his father Kamal Pasha el-Alfi who disappears in mysterious circumstances in Switzerland, and it becomes obvious that he was abducted by the regime of their country. The young Nuri tries to come to terms with the disappearance of his father while he is living in London.

The first page sets the tone:

“There are times when my father’s absence is as heavy as a child sitting on my chest.  Other times I can barely recall the exact features of his face and must bring out the photographs I keep in an old envelope in the drawer of my bedside table" (p1).

I found the book fascinating, hard to read, and really, really good.  It's much different then other books that I've been reading, and I think that might be why I liked it so much.  I think another reason is that I read an article about the author, Hisham Matar, who's own father was a victim of Middle Eastern kidnapping, and is still missing.

Overall, I highly recommend Anatomy of a Disappearance.  I'm glad I read it, and I have already put his first book on "hold" at the library.

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