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Hangman by Maya Binyam

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By Maya Binyam

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In the morning, I received a phone call and was told to board a flight. The arrangements had been made on my behalf. I packed no clothes, because my clothes had been packed for me. A car arrived to pick me up.

A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after twenty-six years in America. When he arrives, he finds that he doesn’t recognize the country or anyone in it. Thankfully, someone recognizes him, a man who calls him brother—setting him on a quest to find his real brother, who is dying.

In Hangman, Maya Binyam tells the story of that search, and of the phantoms, guides, tricksters, bureaucrats, debtors, taxi drivers, relatives, and riddles that will lead to the truth.

This is an uncommonly assured debut: an existential journey; a tragic farce; a slapstick tragedy; and a strange, and strangely honest, story of one man’s stubborn quest to find refuge—in this world and in the world that lies beyond it.


18 Apr 2024


Unusual,original and quirky this is the story of one man's journey home and the people he meets on the way. I had no idea what was going on until the very end (although with hindsight there were clues along the way) and neither had he! Lovely and very skillfully written book set in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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