When Anthony Shadid—one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya as the region erupted—was freed, he went home, not to Boston, Beirut, or Oklahoma, where he was raised by his Lebanese American family, but to an ancient estate built by his great-grandfather, a place filled with memories of a lost era when the Middle East was a world of grace, grandeur, and unexpected departures. For two years previous, Shadid had worked to reconstruct the house and restore his spirit after both had weathered war. Now the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near tells the story of the house’s re-creation, revealing its mysteries and recovering the lives that have passed through it. Shadid juxtaposes past and present as he traces the house’s renewal along with his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. House of Stone is an unforgettable memoir of the world’s most volatile landscape and the universal yearning for home.
Anthony Shadid (1968-2012), an unparalleled chronicler of the human stories behind the news, gained attention and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, for his front-page reports in the Washington Post from Iraq. He was the only American reporter there who spoke Arabic. As the senior Middle East correspondent for the New York Times, he earned his second Pulitzer.
“Shadid’s beautifully rendered memoir is a rich account of a man’s gradual immersion into the world of [the] Middle East where the rooms and hallways of his great-grandfather’s house tell stories that will linger with every reader for decades.” (André Aciman, New York Times best-)selling author
“To some reporters, the Middle East is a ‘story.’ To Anthony Shadid, one of the best journalists working today, it is life itself. His love of the place and its people resonates in every word of this lovely book.” (Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times best-selling author)
“Anthony Shadid has written a beautiful and timeless book about a broken place and a breaking man. House of Stone is poignant, aching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. It is a story of history and healing, and Shadid’s writing is so lyrical it’s like hearing a song.” (David Finkel, Pulitizer Prize–winning author of The Good Soldiers)
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An unexpected pleasure
A poignant and mostly optimistic story about the importance of history and place told through the experience of renovating an old home in Lebanon. For anyone who has ever dealt with contractors, it was also quite humorous with solid character development and vivid description of surroundings. The story reminds the reader of a once dignified and peaceful Middle East long ravaged by war. The renovation of the house is a metaphor for the possibilities of regaining some of that once proud history and the satisfaction derived from making the effort, however hard, to do so.
- mlm k