Hisham Matar’s third novel is, among its many other virtues, a paean to reading widely; to imagining literature as not, in the narrator Khaled’s words, ‘a field of demarcations’, but as a great river that connects and animates ‘the entire human event’. Reading is how Khaled – exiled from Libya when his part in the anti-Gaddafi demonstration at the country’s embassy in St James’s Square in April 1984 made a return to Benghazi impossible – lays the foundations beneath his precarious life in London.
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