House of Stone: Book summary and reviews of House of Stone by Anthony Shadid

House of Stone

A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

by Anthony Shadid

House of Stone
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2012
    336 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A complicated, elegiac, beautiful attempt to reconcile the physical bayt (home) and the spiritual." - Kirkus Reviews

"The sentimentality sometimes borders on maudlin, and his identity quest is often lost among mundane construction details... History buffs, however, will appreciate the family and Middle Eastern historical asides." - Publishers Weekly

"A memoir in which the personal meets the political - and Shadid has already demonstrated that he has the ability to deliver." - Library Journal

"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

"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

"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

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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. Before his untimely death in February 2012, he had been the Senior Middle East correspondent for the New York Times. For more information visit www.anthonyshadid.com.

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