Private Passions - Hisham Matar

Michael Berkeley's guest is the novelist Hisham Matar, who was born in New York to an affluent Libyan family. They moved back to Tripoli when he was three, but six years later his father was accused by the revolutionary government of being a reactionary, and the family was forced to flee to Egypt. While Hisham Matar was studying architecture in London, his father was kidnapped from his home in Cairo and delivered to the Libyan secret service. The last the family heard of him was in 1995, and they have no idea whether he is still alive, held as a political prisoner, or dead. Hisham Matar's first novel, 'In the Country of Men', was published in 2006, and nominated for that year's Booker Prize. It is a moving account of the political world of male violence under a brutal dictatorship, mirrored in the domestic sphere where women are the chattels of men. Hisham Matar has chosen a wide range of music for his Private Passions selection, in which various types of Arabic music are interwoven with works by Chopin (his 'Revolutionary' Study Op.10 No.12), Sibelius's Violin Concerto played by Jascha Heifetz, Ligeti ( a piano piece from 'Musica ricercata'), Schubert (the song 'Nacht und Traume), and Bob Dylan (I Shall be Released, sung by Jeff Buckley).