رولا البلبيسي Rula Bilbeisi'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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's review
May 04, 2012

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“Empires fall. Nations topple. Boarders may shift or be realigned. Old loyalties may dissolve or, without warning, be altered. Home, whether it be structure or familiar ground is, finally, the identity that does not fade.”

With such a profound introduction, the story begins. His poetic words and sincere emotions captivated my attention in the beginning, especially when describing how home “bayt” is perceived here, in the Middle East. I quote: “A house was a display of pride and in time it would become a refuge, and finally a memory”.

However, in following chapters, detailed description of the renovation made me struggle to go on. Tile after tile, stone after stone, pipes and paint, that was too much to go through.

As chapters followed, it was like a rollercoaster ride. I was very involved once he starts talking about the immigration of his ancestors to the states, which reminded me of an Arabic novel called “America” that also described in length the Lebanese immigration and life in the states. Then back to the house and its tiles and windows, which was to me very boring.

I really wanted to know more about him, Anthony the man, who was absent in this story, so was his experiences in war zone areas like Iraq and the west bank, or more interesting the time he was held captive in Libya.

I was so sorry to know that he actually died before enjoying his Bayt (home). However, his ashes were spread between the olive trees he planted, covered with his favorite tiles. As if he renovated the house for that reason. In the end, he found his way back home.
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