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A House in the Sky: A Memoir

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A House in the Sky: A Memoir

By Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett

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Format: Paperback, 373 pages
Published In: United States, 17 June 2014
"The spectacularly dramatic memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her from rural Canada to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia--a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.At the age of eighteen, Amanda Lindhout moved from her hardscrabble Alberta hometown to the big city--Calgary--and worked as a cocktail waitress, saving her tips so she could travel the globe. As a child, she escaped a violent household by paging through National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. Now she would see those places for real. She backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each experience, went on to travel solo across Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a TV reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia--"the most dangerous place on earth"--to report on the fighting there. On her fourth day in the country, she and her photojournalist companion were abducted. An astoundingly intimate and harrowing account of Lindhout's fifteen months as a captive, A House in the Sky illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of her young guards and the men in charge of them. She is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse. She survives by imagining herself in a "house in the sky," looking down at the woman shackled below, and finding strength and hope in the power of her own mind. Lindhout's decision, upon her release, to counter the violence she endured by founding an organization to help the Somali people rebuild their country through education is a wrenching testament to the capacity of the human spirit and an astonishing portrait of the power of compassion and forgiveness"--

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Canadian journalist Lindhout gives a well-honed, harrowing account of her 459-day captivity at the hands of Somali Islamist rebels. Bit by the travel bug early in her life, partly due to the stultifying conditions at home in Sylvan Lake, in Alberta, Canada, where she lived with her single mom and abusive Native American boyfriend, Lindhout was attracted to the exotic world depicted within the pages of National Geographic and vowed to "go somewhere" as soon as she could. Working at an Alberta nightclub called the Drink, Lindhout was able to cobble together money to travel over the years, eventually finding herself in Africa and the Middle East, freelancing as a photographer and journalist and having a love affair with a (married) Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan. Convinced war-torn Somalia would be the "hurricane" to make her career, in August 2008, at age 25, she and Nigel flew to Mogadishu, and, with a "fixer" and an SUV full of official "guards," set off to view a displaced-persons' camp but was instead carjacked by a group of kidnappers who demanded millions from the Westerners' families. Her captors moved her frequently from hideout to hideout, and she eventually converted to Islam ("They can't kill us if we convert," she told Nigel), was separated from Nigel, and was raped and tortured. Lindhout attempted escape but no one came to her aid. She and Nigel miraculously survived as their families and governments dickered over ransom negotiations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"[A] remarkably keen-eyed, honest, and radiant memoir...Moving and informative reading for everyone."--Barbara Hoffert "Library Journal " "Writing with immediacy and urgency, Lindhout and Corbett recount the horrific ordeal in crisp, frank, evocative prose. But what readers will walk away with is an admiration for Lindhout's deep reserves of courage under unimaginable circumstances."--Kristine Huntley "Booklist (starred review) " "A vivid and moving account of how Amanda kept alive the inner light and the spirit of forgiveness even as she found herself in the heart of darkness."--Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth "This is one of the most powerfully-written books I have ever read. Harrowing, hopeful, graceful, redeeming and true, it tells a story of inhumanity and humanity that somehow feels deeply ancient and completely modern. It is beautiful, devastating and heroic--both a shout of defiance and a humbling call to prayer."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things "An amazing, mesmerizing tale that shows international terrorism at a shockingly personal level. Lindhout's strength of character shines through on every page."--Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side "If you have ever wondered how extraordinary people overcome physical and mental anguish, you must read A House in the Sky. Amanda Lindhout's riveting account of strength and survival will inspire and leave a lasting impression."--Jared Cohen, author of The New Digital Age "A House in the Sky is the riveting story, exquisitely told, of a young woman's passionate quest to create an uncommonly large life, against all odds. Amanda Lindhout's journey is a singular one, an epic adventure that ranges from colorful to gripping, in which the stakes are nothing less than absolutely everything. With stunning honesty and clarity, Lindhout and Corbett have made certain of two things: No reader will ever forget this book--or be able to put it down."--Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean "In this lyrical and inspiring book, Amanda Lindhout describes humanity's capacity for cruelty. Yet she also brings to life the deep compassion and courage that resides in all of us. A story of grace, insight and tenacity, A House in the Sky shows us the power and importance of perseverance, hope and forgiveness."--David Rohde, Reuters columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Rope and a Prayer and Beyond War "A House in the Sky is a stunning story of strength and survival. It is sometimes brutal, but always beautiful as Amanda Lindhout discovers that in a fight for her life, her most powerful weapons are hope and compassion."--Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle and The Silver Star "Keenly observed and sprinkled with arresting details, A House in the Sky is more than one woman's heartbreaking tale of captivity. The book sheds light on a conflict area not often painted with nuance. It dares to explore the outer reaches of human empathy. A stunning, haunting, and redemptive read, Lindhout's story is one that stays with you long after the book has been closed."--Grace Bello "The Christian Science Monitor " "A searingly unsentimental account...Ultimately, it is compassion--for her naive younger self, for her kidnappers--that becomes the key to [Lindhout's] survival."--Holly Morris "O, the Oprah magazine " "[A] harrowing, beautifully written memoir....The wide-eyed optimism and unflappable determination that led [Amanda Lindhout] to danger also kept her alive...A brave, compassionate and inspiring triumph."--Korina Lopez "USA Today (4-star review) " "A great book...The lesson [Amanda Lindhout] taught me and others who know this remarkable young woman is: What matters is not how you got there, but what you do once you've arrived."--Robert Draper "ELLE " "A poetic, profound, and thrilling exploration of one woman's misadventure set against the backdrop of global terrorism...Elegant and evocative."--Rebecca Johnson "Vogue " "Lindhout manages to tell her story and to transcend it. Her account stands as a nonfiction companion to Emma Donoghue's shattering, haunting novel about captivity, Room."--Emily Bazelon "Slate " "Exquisitely told...[A House in the Sky] is much more than a gonzo adventure tale gone awry--it's a young woman's harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph....There's no self-pity or grandiosity in these pages. In the cleanest prose, she and Corbett allow events both horrific and absurd...to unfold on their own. Lindhout's resilience transforms the story from a litany of horrors into a humbling encounter with the human spirit."--Eliza Griswold "The New York Times Book Review "

EAN: 9781451645613
ISBN: 1451645619
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Dimensions: 20.83 x 13.97 x 2.79 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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