House of Stone
A Memoir of Home, Family, and A Lost Middle East
"In 2006, Shadid, an Arab-American raised in Oklahoma, was covering Israel's attack on Lebanon when he heard that an Israeli rocket had crashed into the house his great-grandfather built, his family's ancestral home. Not long after, Shadid (who had covered three wars in the Middle East) realized that he had lost his passion for a region that had lost its soul. He had seen too much violence and death; his career had destroyed his marriage. Seeking renewal, he set out to rebuild the house that held his family's past in the town they had helped settle long ago. Although the course of the reconstruction is complicated by craftsmen with too much personality, squabbles with his extended family, and Lebanon's political strife, Shadid is restored along with the house and finds that his understanding of the Middle East, which he had known chiefly in wartime, has been deepened by his immersion in smalltown life. Coming to terms with his family's emigrant experience and their town's history, the "homeless" Shadid finds home and comes to understand the emotions behind the turbulence of the Middle East. In a moving epilogue, Shadid describes returning to this house after a nearly disastrous week as a prisoner of war in Libya along with the first visit of his daughter. Combining the human interest of The Bookseller of Kabul and Three Cups of Tea with the light touch of an expert determined, first, to tell a story, Shadid tells the story of a reconstruction effort that would have sent Frances Mayes to a psychiatric hospital as he brings to life unforgettable characters who lives help explain not just the modern Middle East but the legacy of those who have survived generations of war. He flashes back to his family's loss of home, their suffering during their country's dark days, and their experiences as newcomers in Oklahoma. This is a book about what propels the Middle East's rage, loss of home, and what it must examine and re-find, the sense of shared community. Far
surpassing the usual reporter's "tour of duty," books, House of Stone is more humane and compelling and will please students of the region, those whose families have emigrated from other nations, and all readers engaged by engrossing storytelling"-- Provided by publisher.
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
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