Book of the Month: Anthony Shadid’s House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
Author: Lina Gharbi Universidad de Valladolid
Stunned by war, and, shockingly, no longer young, or married, or with my daughter, Laila. (15)
Our book recommendation of the month is Anthony Shadid’s House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East, a lyrical account of a war-scarred and a battle correspondent who overcame the tensions and horrors of war that ruined their lives by finding some hope in the world. The late award-winning journalist Shadid put down a memoir about heading back to the town in Lebanon where his relatives had migrated and reconstructing the house they deserted.
The memoir is divided into two parts and 24 sections and talks about restoring the home belonging to Shadid’s grandmother’s family; an event that revolves around a way of reinstating his spirit that was destroyed by years of war reporting. Using constant flashbacks, Shadid tracks down the history involving both parts of his family and how constant conflicts and tensions resulted in their immigration to Oklahoma. The Shadids and the Samaras encompassed what many Lebanese immigrants encountered when immigration did not immediately turn into prosperity and wealth. Indeed, a significant achievement was their safe arrival into the New World. The need to incorporate the native culture and economic hardship place more strains on the move. “Fortunes were accumulated, not found,” (260), after which the families slowly achieved a better life in the first place, making them leave their homeland.
With endless humor and wit, either picking perfect tiles for the foyer or gently harvesting olives from the olive trees belonging to his great grandmother, he engages in fast-changing past events of the Levant by the eyes of his fading village. Not only is it because of his ancestry, much as his close link with the area through his profession, talking to both leaders at the top to even average citizens that allowed him truly to contemplate Lebanon in its continuing struggle to establish its way and chart the future in a normally tumultuous region. However, Shadid remains hopeful for the future of Lebanon and the region. That being said, I highly recommend reading his outstanding endeavor.
Shadid, Anthony. 2012. House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East. Houghton Mifflin Harcour.
Lina Gharbi obtained her BA in English studies, literary stream, and MA in advanced English studies: languages and cultures in contact. She is a PHD candidate at Valladolid university. Her fields of interest are: Arab American studies, identity issues and struggles in exile, cultural studies.