Wednesday, 17 July 2013

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid

This book should be an instant classic, it’s that good. The author has woven a true account of his ancestral homeland, his family history, and his own personal struggles into a powerful and evocative read.

Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for over 15 years. During that time, he won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism, twice, for his coverage of the US invasion of Iraq and their later preparations to withdraw. Sadly, however, his life was cut short in 2012, when he died from an asthma attack while trying to ride out of Syria on horseback. This book was published posthumously.

House of Stone is set in the small Lebanese town of Jedeidet Marjayoun. It is the ancestral home of American-born Shadid and, in 2006, he decided to return there, war-weary and recently split from his first wife and daughter. Needing a project to occupy and inspire him, he set about restoring his great-grandfather’s beautiful but crumbling family home.

Infused with family histories and local custom, Shadid writes with a wry humour about his daily frustrations with local tradesmen and the pessimists who looked askance at his attempt to restore the lost grandeur of Marjayoun. Wonderfully written.

Reviewed by Young at Heart Book Group

Read more about Anthony Shadid

Catalogue Link:  House of Stone

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