House of Stone: a Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East
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. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather's estate in Lebanon, 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. Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house's renewal alongside his family's flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. He memorializes a lost world 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.
"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" "Anthony Shadid's beautifully rendered memoir is a rich account of a man's gradual immersion into the world of the Middle East and the culture of the Levant, a kingdom almost unrecognizable today, where the rooms and hallways of his great-grandfather's house tell stories that will linger with every reader for decades." -- Andre Aciman, author of "Out of Egypt" ""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.
Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and former Baghdad bureau chief of the Washington Post. Over a fifteen-year career, he reported from most countries in the Middle East. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for his coverage of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. He won a second in 2010. Shadid is the author of Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam (2001), and Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War (2005), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Shadid died of an asthma attack while attempting to leave Syria on horseback in February 2012.