“Wonderful . . . One of the finest memoirs I’ve read.” — Philip Caputo, Washington Post
In the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, Anthony Shadid found himself in his family’s ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather’s once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake.
So begins the story of a battle-scarred home and a journalist’s wounded spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this bittersweet and resonant memoir, Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside the history of his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America around the turn of the twentieth century. In the process, he memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into a shifting Middle East. This paperback edition includes an afterword by the journalist Nada Bakri, Anthony Shadid’s wife, reflecting on his legacy.
“A poignant dedication to family, to home, and to history . . . Breathtaking.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“Entertaining, informative, and deeply moving . . . House of Stone will stand a long time, for those fortunate enough to read it.” — Telegraph (London)
Shadid a New York Times correspondent, Pulitzer Prize winner, and grandson of immigrants took a leave of absence to renovate his ancestral home in Lebanon. Shadid s quixotic mission was a search for identity. His great-grandfather left the house to his family to join us with the past, to sustain us. Shadid went in search of that past, claiming, I understood questions of identity, how being torn in two often leaves something less than one. He writes sentimentally of Lebanon, but his confession that the house was memories of what I had imagined over many years reveal a constructed emotion. The sentimentality sometimes borders on maudlin, and his identity quest is often lost among mundane construction details. Shadid claims to understand the desire of those whose place had been taken away. He is presumably referring to his divorce, but his home renovation doesn t convince as healing process. History buffs, however, will appreciate the family and Middle Eastern historical asides.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book is a beautiful testament to the richness of the Orthodox Christian culture in Lebanon.
The book is both nostalgic but practical. Shadid explains the conflicts in the Arab world in a way that western media often fails to. He navigates the reader through complexities of occupation and the lasting scars left on a diverse region.
This book is a must read!