Maya Binyam


Published: 2023

Longlisted for the 2024 Women's Prize for Fiction

An existential journey, a tragic farce, a slapstick tragedy: a shockingly original debut novel about exile, diaspora and the search for Black refuge.

A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after 26 years living in exile in America. When he arrives, he finds that he doesn’t recognise the country or anyone in it. Thankfully, someone at the airport knows him – a man who calls him brother. As they travel to this man’s house, the purpose of his visit comes into focus: he is here to find his real brother, who is dying.

Hangman is his tragicomic journey through homecoming and loss. It is a hilarious and twisted odyssey, peopled by phantoms and tricksters, aid workers and taxi drivers, the relatives and riddles that lead this man along a circuitous path towards the truth. This is the strangely honest story of one man’s search for refuge – in this world and the one that lies beyond it.

'Binyam reinvents the novel of return and does so with a mordant wit and a sense of playfulness, that keeps you hooked right until the very end.'

Monica Ali


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