Hisham Matar: Numbers in the Dark

This month, we are delighted to have a book choice (or three) from writer Hisham Matar. His memoir of the search for his father, The Return, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and the 2017 PEN America Jean Stein Book Award.

His debut novel In the Country of Men was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. His most recent book, A Month in Siena, was published in 2019 and was recently featured as the Radio 4 Book of the Week.

Hard to choose one book (I am sure you have heard this many times before). Two come immediately to mind: By Grand Central Station I sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart, and Good morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys. Both are short and very powerful. Not so obviously great for children, though.

Italo Calvino’s Numbers in the Dark is a third option and a great one for encouraging new readers, as many of the stories are short, and although it is not for children, I used to read from it to my nephews when they were little and it often worked.


Thanks very much to Hisham for these wonderful choices.

You can read all our past Book of the Month choices here. 


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