Wednesday, April 11, 2012

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

Restoration. Within the span of a few pages of Anthony Shadid’s memoir, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East, I smiled and then teared up. The centerpiece of the book is the story of his restoration of a family home in southern Lebanon. He owns a fraction of this house with a load of cousins, and decided to just go ahead and live in it, since he was the only owner residing in the region even part of the year. Anyone who has tried to restore an old house will smile at these travails. The havoc of war in the region is never far from the scene, and Shadid provides crisp and clear insight into the issues and the effects of decades of strife. What Shadid does so well is describe the people of the town and members of his family in ways that all readers will enjoy. The fact that Shadid died earlier this year led me to tear up on occasion as I read this book. A major part of his legacy involves his extensive journalism career with The Washington Post and The New York Times. Another part of his legacy is the restoration of a stone house, as told in this finely written memoir.

Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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