Tuesday, December 19, 2017

the last book I ever read (The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, excerpt five)

from 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner in Biography The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar:

Uncle Mahmoud’s visit that autumn coincided with the European Cup. Only reading took charge of Father’s passions more intensely than football. And no team gave him more pleasure than Bayern Munich. When Father was away on work, my mother videotaped every one of their matches. She continued doing so after he was kidnapped, recording not only those of the German team but every football match broadcast, no matter how inconsequential, including Egypt’s Second Division tournament. Every time I came home on holidays, I would find the library of videotapes had grown by a metre. Each was labeled with not the usually careful turns of Mother’s handwriting but a hurried version of it, nothing quickly the competing teams—“Mali-Senegal,” “Cameroon-Egypt,” "Juventus-Barcelona”—and the date. She only stopped when we received the first of Father’s prison letters, three years later. By then she had recorded hundreds of hours of football, which, I remember calculating, if Father had returned to us then with his passion for football intact, it would have taken several years for him to watch.

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