Maya Binyam


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Pushkin Press
3 August 2023
ISBN: 9781911590774
208 pages

From the publisher

‘A gripping tale of homecoming and loss… ruthlessly honest and startlingly beautiful… profound and unforgettable’ Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

‘Daring, intellectually rich, and unsettlingly hilarious. We have a powerful new voice in Maya Binyam, one who knows how to make a story sing’ Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun

‘A subtle and peculiar novel about subtle and peculiar things – home, exile, injustice, family, return and life itself… a remarkable book’ Keith Ridgway, author of A Shock

‘A strikingly masterful debut… a clean, sharp, piercing – and deeply political novel’ Namwali Serpell, author of The Furrows


A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after twenty-six years living in exile in America. When he arrives, he finds that he doesn’t recognize 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 strangley honest story of one man’s search for refuge – in this world and the one that lies beyond it.

An existential journey, a tragic farce, a slapstick tragedy: Hangman is the shockingly original debut novel about exile, diaspora and the search for Black refuge, from a thrilling new literary voice