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A House in the Sky: A Memoir

by and

A House in the Sky: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9781451645606
ISBN10: 1451645600
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The spectacularly dramatic memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her from rural Canada to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia — a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.

At the age of eighteen, Amanda Lindhout moved from her hardscrabble Alberta hometown to the big city — Calgary — and worked as a cocktail waitress, saving her tips so she could travel the globe. As a child, she escaped a violent household by paging through National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. Now she would see those places for real. She backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each experience, went on to travel solo across Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a TV reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia — "the most dangerous place on earth" — to report on the fighting there. On her fourth day in the country, she and her photojournalist companion were abducted.

An astoundingly intimate and harrowing account of Lindhout's fifteen months as a captive, A House in the Sky illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of her young guards and the men in charge of them. She is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse. She survives by imagining herself in a "house in the sky," looking down at the woman shackled below, and finding strength and hope in the power of her own mind. Lindhout's decision, upon her release, to counter the violence she endured by founding an organization to help the Somali people rebuild their country through education is a wrenching testament to the capacity of the human spirit and an astonishing portrait of the power of compassion and forgiveness.

Review:

"Canadian journalist Lindhout gives a well-honed, harrowing account of her 459-day captivity at the hands of Somali Islamist rebels. Bit by the travel bug early in her life, partly due to the stultifying conditions at home in Sylvan Lake, in Alberta, Canada, where she lived with her single mom and abusive Native American boyfriend, Lindhout was attracted to the exotic world depicted within the pages of National Geographic and vowed to 'go somewhere' as soon as she could. Working at an Alberta nightclub called the Drink, Lindhout was able to cobble together money to travel over the years, eventually finding herself in Africa and the Middle East, freelancing as a photographer and journalist and having a love affair with a (married) Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan. Convinced war-torn Somalia would be the 'hurricane' to make her career, in August 2008, at age 25, she and Nigel flew to Mogadishu, and, with a 'fixer' and an SUV full of official 'guards,' set off to view a displaced-persons' camp but was instead carjacked by a group of kidnappers who demanded millions from the Westerners' families. Her captors moved her frequently from hideout to hideout, and she eventually converted to Islam ('They can't kill us if we convert,' she told Nigel), was separated from Nigel, and was raped and tortured. Lindhout attempted escape but no one came to her aid. She and Nigel miraculously survived as their families and governments dickered over ransom negotiations. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A great book....The lesson [Amanda Lindhout] taught me and others who know this remarkable young woman is: What matters is not how you got there, but what you do once you've arrived." Robert Draper, ELLE

Review:

"Writing with immediacy and urgency, Lindhout and Corbett recount the horrific ordeal in crisp, frank, evocative prose. But what readers will walk away with is an admiration for Lindhout's deep reserves of courage under unimaginable circumstances." Booklist, (starred review)

Review:

"A vivid, gut-wrenching, beautifully written, memorable book." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"Exquisitely told...[A House in the Sky] is much more than a gonzo adventure tale gone awry — it's a young woman's harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph....There's no self-pity or grandiosity in these pages. In the cleanest prose, she and Corbett allow events both horrific and absurd...to unfold on their own. Lindhout's resilience transforms the story from a litany of horrors into a humbling encounter with the human spirit." Eliza Griswold, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A poetic, profound, and thrilling exploration of one woman's misadventure set against the backdrop of global terrorism....Elegant and evocative." Rebecca Johnson, Vogue

Review:

"[A] harrowing, beautifully written memoir....The wide-eyed optimism and unflappable determination that led [Amanda Lindhout] to danger also kept her alive....A brave, compassionate and inspiring triumph." Korina Lopez, USA Today

About the Author

Amanda Lindhout has gained international acclaim and awards for her work supporting development and aid in Somalia. In 2010 she founded The Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF) to ignite leadership through education and economic initiatives. She has been featured in many publications and has appeared on the Today show, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, NBC Nightly News, BBC, MSNBC, CTV's Canada AM, and CBC's The National.

Sara Corbett has worked as a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine since 2001. Her features have also appeared in National Geographic; Elle; Outside; O, The Oprah Magazine; Esquire; Mother Jones; and Travel and Leisure.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

andrea West Linn, February 9, 2014 (view all comments by andrea West Linn)
This is the story of sadness and unending hope. It is the heartbreaking story of torture beyond belief imposed by Somali rebels on two young photographers. Their 13 months of imprisonment waiting for a 2 million dollar ransom made a testament for all prisoners held against their will.
The descriptions of Amanda"s travels in India, Costa Rica and South America could make a good travel brochure.
This book is hard to read at times, but one that will stay with me forever.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
andrea West Linn, February 9, 2014 (view all comments by andrea West Linn)
This is the story of sadness and unending hope. It is the heartbreaking story of torture beyond belief imposed by Somali rebels on two young photographers. Their 13 months of imprisonment waiting for a 2 million dollar ransom made a testament for all prisoners held against their will.
The descriptions of Amanda"s travels in India, Costa Rica and South America could make a good travel brochure.
This book is hard to read at times, but one that will stay with me forever.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Lance Cromwell, September 12, 2013 (view all comments by Lance Cromwell)
What a stunning book! Not just beautifully wrought, but physically arresting. Like finish-the-book + walk-around-in-a-daze kind of stunning. Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett tell this harrowing story with such acuity, and attention to detail, that you feel you are right there with Ms. Lindhout in her many travels, and hardships. And, as such, for the last 20 pages i found myself with tears steadily rolling down my cheeks.

It made me at once ashamed to be a man, to be connected in any way to the perpetrators of such evil, and also to be buoyed as a part of the human crowd who do such amazing, heartfelt work, who give of themselves, who love unconditionally. Who literally save people.

The book is crafted so incredibly well that I was compelled to keep turning pages... It was a very hard book to put down. Which is saying something, since it takes some fortitude to pick it up... this is not a light story. Brutal at times, excruciating, but shot through with light in the most unusual places. And what light! Just glorious.

Going in, I knew the basic story. On top of hearing about it in the news, I read the book jacket, and beyond that, the prologue. There is even a reproduction (in the hardcover edition) of notes written by Ms. Lindhout to her mother while in captivity. So, I knew that Ms. Lindhout was captured in Somalia, knew the length of her captivity, and knew that she made it out alive (the book in my hands being living proof). But as is so often the case, what i thought i knew, i really didn't KNOW. And this is just one of the stunning feats of this book: despite knowing the major points of the story, I was continually surprised, and pulled into this book. You are almost lulled into a beautiful memoir/travelogue mindset in the early chapters, but then there are little prose seeds that remind you where this is going. They are brilliantly placed. They have the effect of creating an ominous tone under the score, that foreshadows the coming evil, ratcheting up the intensity, pulling you more fully into this world. You get in there and ride this taught bow-string of a narrative, and Lindhout and Corbett gradually tighten things, until you are stretched pretty thin, almost snapping... and then they let you fly.

I honestly have never read anything that had this kind of effect on me, or at least to this degree. The highs and lows that they not just describe, but pull you into, are truly amazing. Obviously, the story is a huge part of this - what happened to Ms. Lindhout was unthinkable, incredible in the full sense of the word - but the telling of this story: the careful structuring of the narrative, the extremely specific, careful ordering of words - is equally incredible. It is clear that a LOT of work went into this, and the prose just shines because of it.

I'm running out of words that mean 'excellent'... So, i'll just encourage you to go read this book. I know it is going to stay with me for a long, long time + I hope you decide to read it + are similarly awed.

I cannot imagine that there will be any other book out soon, that will be more thought-provoking, more intense, more love inspiring. Had Ms. Lindhout gone back to Somalia, armed, and brimming with hate and vengeance, I can't say many would blame her. But, what happened instead was this gift of a book, this lesson in forgiveness. In addition to the many other things she has done to help out in a place that desperately needs it, she and Ms. Corbett have put this beautiful book into the world.

Many, many thanks.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451645606
Author:
Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Lindhout, Amanda
Author:
Corbett, Sara
Subject:
Biography-Political
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Political
Biography » Women
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » Africa » General
History and Social Science » Africa » Somalia
History and Social Science » World History » Africa

A House in the Sky: A Memoir Used Hardcover
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$18.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781451645606 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Canadian journalist Lindhout gives a well-honed, harrowing account of her 459-day captivity at the hands of Somali Islamist rebels. Bit by the travel bug early in her life, partly due to the stultifying conditions at home in Sylvan Lake, in Alberta, Canada, where she lived with her single mom and abusive Native American boyfriend, Lindhout was attracted to the exotic world depicted within the pages of National Geographic and vowed to 'go somewhere' as soon as she could. Working at an Alberta nightclub called the Drink, Lindhout was able to cobble together money to travel over the years, eventually finding herself in Africa and the Middle East, freelancing as a photographer and journalist and having a love affair with a (married) Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan. Convinced war-torn Somalia would be the 'hurricane' to make her career, in August 2008, at age 25, she and Nigel flew to Mogadishu, and, with a 'fixer' and an SUV full of official 'guards,' set off to view a displaced-persons' camp but was instead carjacked by a group of kidnappers who demanded millions from the Westerners' families. Her captors moved her frequently from hideout to hideout, and she eventually converted to Islam ('They can't kill us if we convert,' she told Nigel), was separated from Nigel, and was raped and tortured. Lindhout attempted escape but no one came to her aid. She and Nigel miraculously survived as their families and governments dickered over ransom negotiations. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A great book....The lesson [Amanda Lindhout] taught me and others who know this remarkable young woman is: What matters is not how you got there, but what you do once you've arrived."
"Review" by , "Writing with immediacy and urgency, Lindhout and Corbett recount the horrific ordeal in crisp, frank, evocative prose. But what readers will walk away with is an admiration for Lindhout's deep reserves of courage under unimaginable circumstances."
"Review" by , "A vivid, gut-wrenching, beautifully written, memorable book."
"Review" by , "Exquisitely told...[A House in the Sky] is much more than a gonzo adventure tale gone awry — it's a young woman's harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph....There's no self-pity or grandiosity in these pages. In the cleanest prose, she and Corbett allow events both horrific and absurd...to unfold on their own. Lindhout's resilience transforms the story from a litany of horrors into a humbling encounter with the human spirit."
"Review" by , "A poetic, profound, and thrilling exploration of one woman's misadventure set against the backdrop of global terrorism....Elegant and evocative."
"Review" by , "[A] harrowing, beautifully written memoir....The wide-eyed optimism and unflappable determination that led [Amanda Lindhout] to danger also kept her alive....A brave, compassionate and inspiring triumph."
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