Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar
Anatomy of a Disappearance is semi-autobiographical. Hisham Matar's father was kidnapped in 1990 and has been missing ever since. I cannot begin to imagine that kind of tragedy - unresolved and lacking closure. So, I feel bad to even admit that I didn't enjoy Anatomy of a Disappearance. I found it very detached and unemotional. It is obvious that Nuri is suffering but that emotion didn't quite come through. He was more obsessed with Mona, whom he fell for from the very instant he set his eyes on her. But it was his father who marries her.
The book is very atmospheric. It was hard not to be transported to Geneva, Paris, Cairo, and London, as Nuri visited these places. The writing was also beautiful and made up for the detachment of the prose. Although I didn't quite enjoy the book much, I am glad I read it because Hisham Matar has been on my list for a while.
Family by J. California Cooper
Clora wanted to escape her life of slavery by killing herself. Unfortunately, her plan to kill her children didn't quite work, so Clora followed their lives from wherever she was, now that she is dead. There is so much to love in this book and I don't really have too much to say about it. It's one of those family sagas that take you on a ride. Always is a character to root for. It's amazing to see how much she learns and changes during the course of the book. This is not to say that this is a light read. There is a ton of stuff in this book that is very disappointing and tragic but there is also plenty that makes you believe in the human spirit. Strongly recommended - this is also a quick read so it can be easily read in one or two sittings.