House of Stone
House of Stone
A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780547134666, 336pp.
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Evocative and beautifully written, "House of Stone" . . . should be read by anyone who wishes to understand the agonies and hopes of the Middle East. Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize winning historian and author of "Crossing Mandelbaum Gate"
In rebuilding his family home in southern Lebanon, Shadid commits an extraordinarily generous act of restoration for his wounded land, and for us all. Annia Ciezadlo, author of "Day of Honey"
In spring 2011, Anthony Shadid was one of four "New York Times" reporters captured in Libya, cuffed and beaten, as that country was seized by revolution. When he was freed, he went home. Not to Boston or Beirut where he lives or to Oklahoma City, where his Lebanese-American family had settled and where he was raised. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather's estate, a house that, over three years earlier, Shadid had begun to rebuild.
"House of Stone" is the story of a battle-scarred home and a war correspondent's jostled spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this poignant and resonant memoir, the author of the award-winning "Night Draws Near "creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house's renewal alongside his family's flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. In the process, Shadid memorializes a lost world, documents the shifting Middle East, and provides profound insights into this volatile landscape. "House of Stone" is an unforgettable meditation on war, exile, rebirth, and the universal yearning for home.
"Six pages into this book, I said to myself, if Anthony Shadid continues like this, this book will be a classic. And page by page, he did continue, and he wrote a honest-to-God, hands-down, undeniable and instant classic. This is a book about war, and terrible loss, and a troubled region, and his own tattered family history, yes, but it’s written with the kind of levity and candor and lyricism we associate with, say, Junot Diaz — and that makes the book, improbably, both a compulsive read and one you don’t want to end. I have no idea how Shadid pulled all this off while talking about the history of modern Lebanon, how he balanced ribald humor and great warmth with the sorrow woven into a story like this, but anyway, we should all be grateful that he did."
— Dave Eggers, author of Zeitoun and What Is the What"Anthony Shadid’s beautifully rendered memoir is a rich account of a man’s gradual immersion into the world of the Middle East and the culture of the Levant, a kingdom almost unrecognizable today, where the rooms and hallways of his great-grandfather’s house tell stories that will linger with every reader for decades." — André Aciman, author of Out of Egypt "House of Stone is poignant, aching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny . . . Shadid's writing is so lyrical it's like hearing a song." — David Finkel, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good Soldier "House of Stone is a haunting, beautifully realized piece of writing." — Nick Flynn, author of The Ticking Is the Bomb "What a beautiful introduction to a world that I knew so little about. House of Stone is engaging, poignant, and funny." — Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
"I was captivated, instantly, by Anthony Shadid's lushly evocative prose. Crumbling Ottoman outposts, doomed pashas, and roving bandits feel immediate, familiar, and relevant. Lose yourself in these pages, where empires linger, grandparents wander, and a battered Lebanon beckons us home. Savor it all. If Márquez had explored nonfiction, Macondo would feel as real as Marjayoun."
— Dave Cullen, author of Columbine
"Evocative and beautifully written, House of Stone . . . should be read by anyone who wishes to understand the agonies and hopes of the Middle East."
— Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Crossing Mandelbaum Gate
"In rebuilding his family home in southern Lebanon, Shadid commits an extraordinarily generous act of restoration for his wounded land, and for us all."
— Annia Ciezadlo, author of Day of Honey
"Few books provide such a subtle, yet powerful insight into the tragedy of today’s Middle East."
— Amin Maalouf, author of Origins: A Memoir
"A riveting, soulful, and candid journey . . ."
— Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah
Just weeks after New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid died in Syria, his latest book has been released. House of Stone tells of the year he spent restoring a family home in Lebanon. More at NPR.org
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