Friday, December 29, 2017

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

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

I remained in the café for a few minutes after he left. Then I wandered out onto the street. It was night, and it felt good that it was night. That man had been the only one who had seen Father alive after the prison massacre of 1996. All the consequences that built on that—the Human Rights Watch report, the campaign, the negotiations with Seif el-Islam—all seemed vacuous, a cruel joke. A great wave of exhaustion passed through me. I wished I could cry. I sensed the old dark acknowledgment that Father had been killed in the massacre. I welcomed the feeling. Not only because it was familiar. Not only because certainty was better than hope. But because I have always preferred to think of him dying with others. He would have been good with others. His instinct to comfort and support those around him would have kept him busy. If I strain hard enough, I can hear him tell them, “Boys, stand straight. With hardship comes ease. With hardship comes ease.” Those other options of him dying alone—those terrify me.

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