Dave Cullen's Reviews > House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

House of Stone by Anthony Shadid
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Feb 15, 13


So much about this book to love.

It's only the third book I've ever agreed to blurb. That tells you how much I loved it.

My blurb (and I wrote it myself, and meant every word):

“I was captivated, instantly, by Anthony Shadid’s lushly evocative prose. Crumbling Ottoman outposts, doomed pashas, and roving bandits feel immediate, familiar, and relevant. Lose yourself in these pages, where empires linger, grandparents wander, and a battered Lebanon beckons us home. Savor it all. If Márquez had explored nonfiction, Macondo would feel as real as Marjayoun.”

Reading it sometimes made me feel inadequate as a writer. I wish I could do some of the amazing things he does. Or maybe I wish I could do them so relentlessly. I tend to underline phrases I love, and the pages are covered in ink. Every other sentence leaps out at me. Hard to believe.

Reading it sometimes made me feel inadequate as a writer. I wish I could do some of the amazing things he does. Or maybe I wish I could do them so relentlessly. I tend to underline phrases I love, and the pages are covered in ink. Every other sentence leaps out at me. Hard to believe anyone can be that consistent. Faulkner, Nabokov, Denis Johnson and William Lychak are the only ones who have matched Anthony's underline rate for me.

Update, Feb 2013:

A year later, I still think about this book, and the impact it had on me. Beautiful.
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Comments (showing 1-6)




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Dave Cullen Nice to see it on a lot of to-read lists.

Has anyone started or finished it? Are you loving it as much as I am?


message 5: by Rose Ann (new) - added it

Rose Ann I plan to start it in the next week or so.
Wonderful review!


Dave Cullen Thanks. Let me know what you think.


message 3: by Mj (new)

Mj Excellent review. Really captured my interest. I've read a few books on the Middle East and looks like this one should be another based on not just the information but the "lush evocative prose" you mentioned. Unfortunately this book isn't currently in my local library but I will definitely keep it in mind.

Fyi, I noticed a bit of duplication in your review that you might want to quickly edit with the delete button.

Again, I appreciated your insightful and personal review.


message 2: by Matti (new) - added it

Matti Paasio "Every other sentence leaps out at me."

My experience, exactly, with Columbine. And you're way better than Marquez.


message 1: by Winky (new)

Winky yay


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