Nuri is a young boy when his mother dies. It seems that nothing will fill the emptiness that her strange death leaves behind in the Cairo apartment he shares with his father. Until Mona.
When Nuri first sees Mona sitting in her bright yellow swimsuit by the pool of the Magda Marina holiday resort, the rest of the world vanishes. But it is Nuri’s father with whom Mona falls in love and whom she will eventually marry. And their happiness consumes Nuri to the point where he longs to get his father out of the way.
However, Nuri will soon regret what he wishes for. And, as the world that he and his stepmother share is shattered by the events beyond their control, they both begin to realize how little they really knew about the man they loved.
In a voice that is delicately wrought and beautifully tender, Hisham Matar asks, in his extraordinary new novel: when a loved one disappears, how does their absence shape the lives of those who are left?