When a book is tipped for the Booker Prize this early in the year, the anticipation of reading a highly-rated novel increases – and in the case of My Friends by Hisham Matar I’m inclined to agree with the statement.
Protagonist Khaled, inspired by literature and a story by Hosam Zowa transmitted on the radio as a young boy, leaves his home country Libya to begin his studies in Edinburgh. A decision to attend a demonstration outside the Libyan embassy in London ends with a fateful turn of events that shapes his life and leads him on an unexpected journey, where truth and lies entwine to exist within a life of exile.
This immersive and reflective novel from the Pulitzer-winning Matar is a meaningful story of friendship, family, loss and the influence of the political landscape on the lives’ of individuals. Subtle nuances of the past influencing the future are introduced as the story progresses, combined with the importance of literature and art – which left me with a profound feeling of empathy for the characters and the journey they were embarking on.
A particular highlight was the way the author managed to weave historical and political events throughout the story in such an engaging and mesmerising way. A pleasure to read and already a contender for my book of the year.
My Friends, Hisham Matar (Penguin)
Price: £18.99/£8.99 Ebook/£14 audiobook. Info: here
words RHIANON HOLLEY