10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Hardcover)
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I give this book a 4 rather than 5 stars simply because I found that it was slow to engage. Once you make it through the first few chapters, however, it really is a lovely book. The author, a famous Middle East correspondent, returns to his family's home in Lebanon, which has been abandoned from the endless wars, and decides to restore it. He takes a year off from his job and spends it rebuilding the house, and that journey acts as a way to reflect on his family's journey and the tumult in the country. Although the story of the house reconstruction is interesting in its own right, as are the immigration stories, it is the personal history of the impact of wars throughout Lebanon with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the cultural studies of the attitudes and behaviors of the people in the town that provide the constant human interest of the book. It is these latter stories that make the book come alive.
As a sad note, a day after reading the book I learned that the author died in Syria, apparently from asthma, leaving behind two children, a new wife, and the family home that he labored to build. It provides a poignant twist to the hope, longing, and journey described in the book.
Well worth reading. A very personal journey in the Middle East.