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House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle Eastby Anthony Shadid
Synopses & Reviews
In 2006, Shadid—an Arab-American raised in Oklahoma—was covering Israels attack on Lebanon when he heard that an Israeli rocket had crashed into the house his great-grandfather built—his familys ancestral home. Not long after, Shadid (who had covered three wars in the Middle East) realized that he had lost his passion for a region that had lost its soul. He had seen too much violence and death; his career had destroyed his marriage. Seeking renewal, he set out to rebuild the house that held his familys past in the town they had helped settle long ago. Although the course of the reconstruction is complicated by craftsmen with too much personality, squabbles with his extended family, and Lebanons political strife, Shadid is restored along with the house and finds that his understanding of the Middle East—which he had known chiefly in wartime—has been deepened by his immersion in smalltown life. Coming to terms with his familys emigrant experience and their towns history, the "homeless" Shadid finds home and comes to understand the emotions behind the turbulence of the Middle East. In a moving epilogue, Shadid describes returning to this house after a nearly disastrous week as a prisoner of war in Libya along with the first visit of his daughter. Combining the human interest of The Bookseller of Kabul and Three Cups of Tea with the light touch of an expert determined, first, to tell a story, Shadid tells the story of a reconstruction effort that would have sent Frances Mayes to a psychiatric hospital as he brings to life unforgettable characters who lives help explain not just the modern Middle East but the legacy of those who have survived generations of war. He flashes back to his familys loss of home, their suffering during their countrys dark days, and their experiences as newcomers in Oklahoma. This is a book about what propels the Middle East's rage—loss of home—and what it must examine and re-find—the sense of shared community. Far surpassing the usual reporters "tour of duty," books, House of Stone is more humane and compelling and will please students of the region, those whose families have emigrated from other nations, and all readers engaged by engrossing storytelling.
"Shadid — a New York Times correspondent, Pulitzer Prize winner, and grandson of immigrants — took a leave of absence to renovate his ancestral home in Lebanon. Shadid's 'quixotic mission' was a search for identity. His great-grandfather left the house to his family to 'join us with the past, to sustain us.' Shadid went in search of that past, claiming, 'I understood questions of identity, how being torn in two often leaves something less than one.' He writes sentimentally of Lebanon, but his confession that the house was 'memories of what I had imagined over many years' reveal a constructed emotion. The sentimentality sometimes borders on maudlin, and his identity quest is often lost among mundane construction details. Shadid claims to understand the 'desire of those whose place had been taken away.' He is presumably referring to his divorce, but his home renovation doesn't convince as healing process. History buffs, however, will appreciate the family and Middle Eastern historical asides." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A compelling saga of redemption and renewal from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Shadid tells the story of rebuilding his family's ancestral home in Lebanon amid political strife, and his eventual understanding of the emotions behind the turbulence in the Middle East.
A crowning achievement in the career of revered journalist Anthony Shadid—who died while on assignment in Syria in February 2012—House of Stone tells the story of rebuilding Shadid's ancestral home in Lebanon amid political strife.
In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.
Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map's countless places in between.
“Wonderful . . . One of the finest memoirs I’ve read.” — Philip Caputo, Washington Post
In the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, Anthony Shadid found himself in his family’s ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather’s once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake.
So begins the story of a battle-scarred home and a journalist’s wounded spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this bittersweet and resonant memoir, Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside the history of his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America around the turn of the twentieth century. In the process, he memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into a shifting Middle East. This paperback edition includes an afterword by the journalist Nada Bakri, Anthony Shadid’s wife, reflecting on his legacy.
“A poignant dedication to family, to home, and to history . . . Breathtaking.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“Entertaining, informative, and deeply moving . . . House of Stone will stand a long time, for those fortunate enough to read it.” — Telegraph (London)
About the Author
Anthony Shadid, an unparalleled chronicler of the human stories behind the news, gained attention and awards, including the Pulitzer, for his front-page reports in the Washington Post from Iraq there. He was the only American reporter in Iraq who spoke Arabic. Currently he is Senior Middle East correspondent for the New York Times. He recently earned his second Pulitzer. He lives in Boston and Beirut but was raised in Oklahoma City.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Bayt xiii
PART ONE: RETURNING
1. What the Silence Knows, July 30, 2006 3
2. Little Olive, August 10, 2007 14
3. Three Birds 35
4. Our Last Gentleman 49
5. Gold 65
6. Early Harvest 77
7. Dont Tell the Neighbors 88
8. Abu Jean, Does This Please You? 99
9. Mr. Chaya Appears 112
10. Last Whispers 128
11. Khairallas Oud 142
12. Citadels 155
PART TWO: AT HOME
13. Homesick 171
14. A Bush Called Rozana 181
15. Stupid Cat 197
16. Sitara 205
17. Salted Miqta 216
18. Passing Danger 232
19. Home 240
20. Worse Times 249
21. In the Name of the Father 259
22. Coming Home 269
23. Oh Laila 278
24. My Jedeida 286
Note to Readers 309
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