A House in the Sky

  • by Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett
  • Narrated by Amanda Lindhout
  • 13 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Amanda Lindhout reads her 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 15 months of harrowing captivity in Somalia - a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.
At the age of 18, 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. 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 15 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Drawing Strength from an Empty Well

I always feel that when reviewing a memoir you have to stick to rules that don't dishonor the author that is so bravely sharing a part of their soul. It is safe to say that Amanda shares hers with a restraint I respect, focusing on the surface events and the space within herself from which she drew the will to survive. She shows a surprising element of understanding towards her captors, and her partner Nigel, that I don't think I would have had the grace with which to do so. Accepting responsibility for her plight (which she does admirably) shows that this is a woman not wanting to waste her precious time placing blame or wearing the victim label.

The book gives the right amount of background story, is well written and edited, and refrains from manipulating the reader. I am still processing many aspects of the story, both the fascinating psychology involved, and the global politics. The hatred directed at the West, the treatment of women, then the reverse desire to have a Western education...but I don't want to tread into the politics. (The events that involved the ex-boyfriend have me still scratching my head...I would love to have that discussion with other readers.) I watched Amanda's interview with 20/20, and have since watched several other interviews she has given. The book is an extended version of those interviews. Amanda's story shows that she has learned to draw a positive power from the trauma, using it as the impetus to reach out to others; she is an empowered survivor whose courage and determination could not be beaten.
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- Mel

Incredible story! Very well written and delivered

I loved this entire book and was only disappointed when it was over. After the initial chapters in which you learn what kind of person Amanda is, the story becomes fascinating, horrifying, uplifting, and disturbing, all at once. I listened to it during my commute to/from work and every day I couldn't wait to get into the car.

Amanda does a great job of reading the book, and because she is the author she really delivers a deep feeling for what the story is about.

Listen to it. You'll love it.
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- Eric Schurr

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio