Thursday, May 17, 2012

House of Stone by Anthony Shadid

Pulitzer Prize winning news correspondent Anthony Shadid writes about his experience of rehabilitating the age and war-damaged home of his great grandparents in Lebanon. Unlike any television show about house renovations, House of Stone goes beyond descriptions of setbacks, procurement of materials, no-shows and delays by contractors and workmen. Anthony Shadid also interweaves the history of the house, the people who built and lived in it with the history of the town, the region and the country of Lebanon. He tells about a variety of people who work on the house and live in the town. His narrative spans decades of turmoil from the early twentieth century to the present. Sometimes the turmoil was in personal relationships. Sometimes the turmoil was and is of national and international making, affecting families, separating them from each other, from home.

In renovating his great-grandfather's house, Shadid sought to repair not only it but something of himself after spending years in war-torn Iraq. While Lebanon is hardly a sanctuary of peace, the inspiration and connection to the house provided Shadid both insight to a lost way of life and a found sense of renewal. His writing captures location and personalities with poignancy as well as dry humor.

Posted for reviewer Cynthia H.

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