The History Book Club discussion

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
This topic is about House of Stone
27 views
MIDDLE EAST > 10.. HOUSE OF STONE ~ JUNE 3 - JUNE 9 ~ ~CHAPTERS 18, 19, 20 (pp 232 - 258) ~ No Spoilers Please

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jill (last edited Jun 01, 2013 09:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Hello Everyone,

For the week of June 3, 2013 - June 9, 2013, we are reading Chapters 18, 19, and 20 of
House of Stone
.

The tenth week's reading assignment is:

WEEK Ten: June 3, 2013 - June 9, 2013 (pp 232-258)

Chapter 18 - Passing Danger (pp 232-239)
Chapter 19 - Home (pp 241-248)
Chapter 20 - Worse Times (pp 249-258)


We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book is being kicked off on April 1,2013.. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle. This weekly thread will be opened up today, April 1, 2013.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Jill will be moderating this discussion.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

House of Stone A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid by Anthony ShadidAnthony Shadid

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS ARE EXTREMELY DENSE SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.


Notes:

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2..................

Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

goodreads.com/topic/show/1263001-hous...

Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author used in her research or in her notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations. No self promotion, please.

goodreads.com/topic/show/1262982-hous...

TOC and the Syllabus

The following is a link to the table of contents for the book and the weekly syllabus:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1.........

Book as a Whole Thread
The following is a link to the Final Thoughts and Book as a Whole.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1.........

House of Stone A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid by Anthony Shadid Anthony Shadid


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Chapter Overviews and Summaries


Chapter 18: Passing Danger (pp 232-239)

Shadid feels tranquil sitting o the porch of the house as he feels he has escaped from war, even though there is still much unrest in the country. He reflects on the fact that half of the country is with the government which is also supported by the United States, but Hezbollah represented the shia, the country's largest group.

Hakmit visits and Shadid learns that the birth of his daughter has changed him and Shadid feels a great yearning for his own daughter.

Chapter 19: Home (pp 21-248)

Shadid views a once beautiful old mansion that had belonged to a member of the government. It is now in ruins and he feels that it is a lesson.....this could be the house of his ancestor if he hadn't begun work on it. Michel Fardisi tells him that it was once filled with people but the twenty-five relatives who had inherited it could no agree on its fate, so it was left to wither away.

Fardisi tells him that people are leaving and that when the men die, who will replace them. Shadid thinks of Dr. Khairalla.

His cousin Karim comes back from Beirut and sees the house. He is stunned and tells Shadid that his Lebanese roots are coming out. But Shadid learns not to talk politics with him as he always takes the most provocative position possible.

Chapter 20: Worse Times (pp 249-258)

Abu Jean is back and in charge of the renovations which is bad news for Shadid. His sojourn in Marjayoun is coming to an end and the house is not complete. Anger erupts but George Jarada comes on the scene to mediate and an uneasy truce is called.

Shadid takes Dr. Khairalla a gift and finds that his heath has deteriorated badly but he is still working in his garden. He has been advised to use morphine to ease the pain but he refuses based on the fact that if he takes it now, what will he take later?

When he hears the news that things may be turning violent in Beirut, Shadid asks the doctor if there will be a civil war. The doctor replies, "It's not in the hands of the Lebanese. The decision is outside. We're the instruments of war, the means. They use us". (pg. 253)


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I think that Shadid, and maybe some of his friends, feel that the conflict which is currently boiling in Beirut and other areas of Lebanon will not reach Marjayoun since it is an almost forgotten town. I don't think that will prevent problems but the residents seem to think they are isolated from it. Agreed or disagree?


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I wonder what Shadid's grandmother would have thought of his renovation of the house. Even though she left it at age 12, would she have had a love for that house to appreciate his obsession with completing it to its original state?


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
That I am not sure - it is possible because of how she left.


Donna (drspoon) Difficult to say, Jill, but I think she would have approved. I believe it's a noble thing to restore/save a home even if it doesn't have a personal historical significance.


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) We have memories from childhood of a house/home that are etched in our minds; unfortunately they are not always realistic since they are wrapped more in memory/events/family than in the physical house itself. But I think the Shadid is trying his best to renovate this house to its original state although the memories cannot be renovated. It is a noble effort as you said, DonnaR, but my feeling is that Shadid may be the only one who really cares (although his grandmother might have approved).


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Shadid wonders if Isber would have felt the frustration that he feels at the delays, disappointments and excuses which are slowing down the renovation. But I think that a native Lebanese would be more low-key about it as this is a way of life which the American Shadid finds difficult to which to adapt.


Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Shadid sees an old mansion, once the center of social activity, which has fallen into ruin and his friend Michel says "The problem of inheritance. Who's going to fix it?" (pg.241). Emigrants come back to visit and even renovate some of their old homes but only stay for a few weeks each summer. Don't you think that this is the fate of Marjayoun....it will never return to its past glory and will keep declining.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 05, 2013 03:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
@message 9 - Isn't that the truth? I think Shadid got his home back to better than it was - but you are right what is going to get Marjayoun back.


message 11: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Borders have changed over the years and wars have created a different environment in Marjayoun. Michel say that when Dr, Khairala dies, which might be soon, not even his children will live there and he is one of the last threads to the "old days". It is a depressing thought for Shadid because he knows that one day he will also abandon his house, leaving a relic and it will become "stones without people". (pg 243)


Laurie One of the most poignant episodes in the book I felt was in chapter 18 when Hikmat came to visit Shadid. Hikmat was expressing to Shadid how much he loved his daughter and how he felt God set him on earth to take care of her. I have understood that daughters are not valued in the Middle Eastern culture (as well as many other cultures) as much as sons.

I had highlighted this passage of Shadid describing Hikmat: "To Hikmat's credit, I never heard him express regret at not having a son, and the way he talked about Miana made me jealous of not having my own daughter with me. I called her almost every day. I saw her for a few weeks every couple of months. But it wasn't enough, and I felt ashamed at not being with her more often. I told Hikmat that."

One of my favorite scenes in the book.


message 13: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Laurie wrote: "One of the most poignant episodes in the book I felt was in chapter 18 when Hikmat came to visit Shadid. Hikmat was expressing to Shadid how much he loved his daughter and how he felt God set him ..."

I was also struck by Hikmat's deep love of his daughter in a culture among others that indeed prizes male offspring above female. I have ambivalent feelings about Shadid's relationship with his daughter since we really have never been told the circumstances of his parting from her except that her mother and the author were divorced.


message 14: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Dr. Khairalla's health is deteriorating and Shadid visits him to look at his flowers and bonsai plants. The doctor admits that he is not feeling well but is still seeing patients. I feel that when Dr. Khairalla passes, the town will decline more quickly without him. He is the link to the past.


message 15: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Am I missing the point about his restoration? It is obvious that he is not going to live there, that he never intended to live there but yet, spent time, money, and suffered much frustration to restore the house.......but for what? His reasoning is ambiguous although he speaks of bringing his daughter there at some point. Was he planning to do as some of those former residents who restored homes did and then spent a couple of weeks a year in residence?


message 16: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Good point, Libby. He may have glossed over his true motivation or simply did not recognize what it was. Whatever the reason, I am concerned at this point in the book, as to what will happen to the house once he is not longer there....will it turn into the ruin that was mentioned in Post #9 or are the relatives that also own the property suddenly going to appear and cause trouble. I keep expecting that to happen since Shadid does not really "own" the property.


back to top