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A House in the Sky: A Memoir of a Kidnapping That Changed Everything par [Lindhout, Amanda, Corbett, Sara]
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Format Kindle, 3 avril 2014
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Longueur : 375 pages Word Wise: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit


A House in the Sky


We named the houses they put us in. We stayed in some for months at a time; other places, it was a few days or a few hours. There was the Bomb-Making House, then the Electric House. After that came the Escape House, a squat concrete building where we’d sometimes hear gunfire outside our windows and sometimes a mother singing nearby to her child, her voice low and sweet. After we escaped the Escape House, we were moved, somewhat frantically, to the Tacky House, into a bedroom with a flowery bedspread and a wooden dresser that held hair sprays and gels laid out in perfect rows, a place where, it was clear from the sound of the angry, put-upon woman jabbering in the kitchen, we were not supposed to be.

When they took us from house to house, it was anxiously and silently and usually in the quietest hours of night. Riding in the backseat of a Suzuki station wagon, we sped over paved roads and swerved onto soft sandy tracks through the desert, past lonely-looking acacia trees and dark villages, never knowing where we were. We passed mosques and night markets strung with lights and men leading camels and groups of boisterous boys, some of them holding machine guns, clustered around bonfires along the side of the road. If anyone had tried to see us, we wouldn’t have registered: We’d been made to wear scarves wrapped around our heads, cloaking our faces the same way our captors cloaked theirs—making it impossible to know who or what any of us were.

The houses they picked for us were mostly deserted buildings in tucked-away villages, where all of us—Nigel, me, plus the eight young men and one middle-aged captain who guarded us—would remain invisible. All of these places were set behind locked gates and surrounded by high walls made of concrete or corrugated metal. When we arrived at a new house, the captain fumbled with his set of keys. The boys, as we called them, rushed in with their guns and found rooms to shut us inside. Then they staked out their places to rest, to pray, to pee, to eat. Sometimes they went outside and wrestled with one another in the yard.

There was Hassam, who was one of the market boys, and Jamal, who doused himself in cologne and mooned over the girl he planned to marry, and Abdullah, who just wanted to blow himself up. There was Yusuf and Yahya and Young Mohammed. There was Adam, who made calls to my mother in Canada, scaring her with his threats, and Old Mohammed, who handled the money, whom we nicknamed Donald Trump. There was the man we called Skids, who drove me out into the desert one night and watched impassively as another man held a serrated knife to my throat. And finally, there was Romeo, who’d been accepted into graduate school in New York City but first was trying to make me his wife.

Five times a day, we all folded ourselves over the floor to pray, each holding on to some secret ideal, some vision of paradise that seemed beyond our reach. I wondered sometimes whether it would have been easier if Nigel and I had not been in love once, if instead we’d been two strangers on a job. I knew the house he lived in, the bed he’d slept in, the face of his sister, his friends back home. I had a sense of what he longed for, which made me feel everything doubly.

When the gunfire and grenade blasts between warring militias around us grew too thunderous, too close by, the boys loaded us back into the station wagon, made a few phone calls, and found another house.

Some houses held ghost remnants of whatever family had occupied them—a child’s toy left in a corner, an old cooking pot, a rolled-up musty carpet. There was the Dark House, where the most terrible things happened, and the Bush House, which seemed to be way out in the countryside, and the Positive House, almost like a mansion, where just briefly things felt like they were getting better.

At one point, we were moved to a second-floor apartment in the heart of a southern city, where we could hear cars honking and the muezzins calling people to prayer. We could smell goat meat roasting on a street vendor’s spit. We listened to women chattering as they came and went from the shop right below us. Nigel, who had become bearded and gaunt, could look out the window of his room and see a sliver of the Indian Ocean, a faraway ribbon of aquamarine. The water’s proximity, like that of the shoppers and the cars, both comforted and taunted. If we somehow managed to get away, it was unclear whether we’d find any help or simply get kidnapped all over again by someone who saw us the same way our captors did—not just as enemies but enemies worth money.

We were part of a desperate, wheedling multinational transaction. We were part of a holy war. We were part of a larger problem. I made promises to myself about what I’d do if I got out. Take Mom on a trip. Do something good for other people. Make apologies. Find love.

We were close and also out of reach, thicketed away from the world. It was here, finally, that I started to believe this story would be one I’d never get to tell, that I would become an erasure, an eddy in a river pulled suddenly flat. I began to feel certain that, hidden inside Somalia, inside this unknowable and stricken place, we would never be found.

Revue de presse

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)

“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)

“A poetic, profound, and thrilling exploration of one woman’s misadventure set against the backdrop of global terrorism…Elegant and evocative.” (Rebecca Johnson Vogue)

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] 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 riveting memoir…” (Good Housekeeping)

A searingly unsentimental account…Ultimately, it is compassion—for her naïve younger self, for her kidnappers—that becomes the key to [Lindhout’s] survival.” (Holly Morris O, the Oprah magazine)

“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)

“An elegant and wrenching memoir…” (The Daily Beast)

“[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, gut-wrenching, beautifully written, memorable book…” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“A well-honed, harrowing account…” (Publishers Weekly (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)

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)

“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)

“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 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)

“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)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1195 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 375 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (3 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00F02CI94
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x9799ae10) étoiles sur 5 1.387 commentaires
159 internautes sur 166 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97944fb4) étoiles sur 5 A must read memoir 18 septembre 2013
Par Luanne Ollivier - Publié sur
Format: Relié
If you only read one memoir this year, make it A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett.

Amanda Lindhout is from Alberta, Canada. As a young child living in a turbulent household, she collected and cashed in bottles. And what did she spend her money on? Old National Geographic magazines. Amanda escaped into the pages,dreaming of one day visiting the exotic places pictured.

At nineteen she has saved enough money from waitressing to make those dreams a reality. Her first trip abroad is to Venezuela.

"I had seen this place in the magazine, and now we were here, lost in it. It was a small truth affirmed. And it was all I needed to keep going."

Lindhout repeats the cycle, earning, then travelling. She visits most of Latin America, India, Burma, Ethiopia, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan and dozens more. Her joy in exploring and experiencing new places and people is tangible. But, each trip she takes is a little further off the beaten path. And finally, she's travelling to some of the most war torn countries in the world.

In Kabul, Afghanistan she begins a career as a fledgling freelance /journalist/photojournalist - with no formal training, associations or contacts. With some success under her belt, she heads next to Baghdad, Iraq to work as a reporter for Iran's Press TV. Moving on from there she decides to head to Mogadishu, Somalia in 2008 - bigger stories might help her career take off faster. She wonders if an old flame, Nigel Brennan, an Aussie photographer wants to join her. He does.......and four days after their arrival in Somalia, they are kidnapped by insurgents from an Islamic fundamentalist group. And, they are held.... for 460 days.

"It was here, finally, that I started to believe this story would be one I'd never get to tell, that I would become an erasure, an eddy in a river pulled suddenly flat. I began to feel certain that, hidden inside Somalia, inside this unknowable and stricken place, we would never be found."

A House in the Sky is Amanda's recounting of those 460 days. She is beaten, starved, chained up, kept in the dark, raped and tortured. These are the facts.

"There are parts of my story that I may one day be able to recover and heal from, and, to whatever degree possible, forget about them and move on. But there are parts of my story that are so horrific that once they are shared, other people's minds will keep them alive."

How she survives is a story that had me tearing up, putting the book down and walking away from it so many times. It's a difficult read, but is such a testament to the human spirit and will.

Amanda names each of the houses they are held in - Bomb-Making House, Electric House, Tacky House and more. But it is the House in the Sky that had me freely sobbing - at the worst of times she builds a house in her mind, filled with the people she loves and the memories she treasures, the future she dreams of.

"I was safe and protected. It was where all the voices that normally tore through my head expressing fear and wishing for death went silent, until there was only one left speaking . It was a calmer, stronger voice, one that to me felt divine. It said, 'See? You are okay, Amanda. It's only your body that's suffering, and you are not your body. The rest of you is fine.' "

The journey to their release is gut-wrenching, incredibly powerful and impossible to put down. I stopped many times to look at the smiling author picture of Amanda on the back, wondering how in the world she survived. Survived and forgave. And as I turned the last page, I just sat. Sat and thought. This is a book that will stay with you, long after that last page. Read an excerpt of A House in the Sky.

Amanda Lindhout is the founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation - "a non -profit organization that supports development, aid and education initiatives in Somalia and Kenya
80 internautes sur 89 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97944d44) étoiles sur 5 One of the most powerful, affecting books I have ever read... 12 septembre 2013
Par Lance Cromwell - Publié sur
Format: Relié
What a stunning book! Not just beautifully wrought, but physically arresting. Like finish-the-book-and-walk-around-in-a-daze kind of stunning. Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett tell this harrowing story with such acuity, and attention to detail, that you feel you are right there with Ms. Lindhout in her many travels, and hardships. And, as such, for the last 20 pages i found myself with tears steadily rolling down my cheeks.

It made me at once ashamed to be a man, to be connected in any way to the perpetrators of such evil, and also to be buoyed as a part of the human crowd who do such amazing, heartfelt work, who give of themselves, who love unconditionally. Who literally save people.

The book is crafted so incredibly well that I was compelled to keep turning pages... It was a very hard book to put down. Which is saying something, since it takes some fortitude to pick it up... this is not a light story. Brutal at times, excruciating, but shot through with light in the most unusual places. And what light! Just glorious.

Going in, I knew the basic story. On top of hearing about it in the news, I read the book jacket, and beyond that, the prologue. There is even a reproduction (in the hardcover edition) of notes written by Ms. Lindhout to her mother while in captivity. So, I knew that Ms. Lindhout was captured in Somalia, knew the length of her captivity, and knew that she made it out alive (the book in my hands being living proof). But as is so often the case, what i thought i knew, i really didn't KNOW. And this is just one of the stunning feats of this book: despite knowing the major points of the story, I was continually surprised, and pulled into this book. You are almost lulled into a beautiful memoir/travelogue mindset in the early chapters, but then there are little prose seeds that remind you where this is going. They are brilliantly placed. They have the effect of creating an ominous tone under the score, that foreshadows the coming evil, ratcheting up the intensity, pulling you more fully into this world. You get in there and ride this taught bow-string of a narrative, and Lindhout and Corbett gradually tighten things, until you are stretched pretty thin, almost snapping... and then they let you fly.

I honestly have never read anything that had this kind of effect on me, or at least to this degree. The highs and lows that they not just describe, but pull you into, are truly amazing. Obviously, the story is a huge part of this -- what happened to Ms. Lindhout was unthinkable, incredible in the full sense of the word -- but the telling of this story -- the careful structuring of the narrative, the extremely specific, careful ordering of words -- is equally incredible. It is clear that a LOT of work went into this, and the prose just shines because of it.

I'm running out of words that mean 'excellent'... So, i'll just encourage you to go read this book. I know it is going to stay with me for a long, long time + I hope you decide to read it + are similarly awed.

I cannot imagine that there will be any other book out soon, that will be more thought-provoking, more intense, more love inspiring. Had Ms. Lindhout gone back to Somalia, armed, and brimming with hate and vengeance, I can't say many would blame her. But, what happened instead was this gift of a book, this lesson in forgiveness. In addition to the many other things she has done to help out in a place that desperately needs it, she and Ms. Corbett have put this beautiful book into the world.

Many, many thanks.
82 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x979b2c60) étoiles sur 5 Fantastic ! 11 septembre 2013
Par J. Jenkins - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I had been following the story of Amanda since the initial kidnapping in Somalia many years ago and the ordeals she was forced to undergo as dimly reported in national newspapers. It was horrifyingly fascinating due to, what we must admit to straightaway, the great physical beauty of Amanda, and the desolation of being captive in Somalia, said to be the most dangerous place on earth, which even aid groups like medecins sans frontiers had abandoned. Equally shocking was the idea that ordinary folks (her family) would have to raise a million dollars as ransom without the help of government or she would be killed. So I definitely jumped on the book when I saw it was finally out because I wanted to hear 'her side' of this big news story, especially the big question: why be so foolish to travel into Somalia? And how bad did it get, really?

The book does a great job of explaining her motivations, based on her free-spirited backpacker days obsessed with travel and seeing the world (and in fact these early chapters are really beautiful for those who like me are highly interested in travel too), thereafter the appeal of freelance journalism arises to fund her travels, which, due to its lack of success in for ex. Baghdad, led to the idea of venturing into Somalia which was underrepresented in journalism for obvious reasons.

Equally powerful is the understanding she brings both to her situation, her self-awareness of the mistake she had made, the situation inside Somalia, and the islamicism of her captors combined with their immaturity (mostly teenagers) and the absolutely soul-breaking experience of being captive for 15 months, thinking so often that death was a minute away.

What was a pleasant surprise to me was how beautifully well-written the book was. There is little of the purple prose, the gratuitous 'positive thinking power', or wallowing in emotional discharge that could have drowned such a memoir, everything is actually very lightly but beautifully described no matter the intensity of the feelings. Several pages I reread due to their great literary beauty.

Of course, the fact that her soul didn't break, she continued to have hope in the goodnesss of people, will make this book highly appealing to the general public. For myself I'm thankful I came to understand the reasons behind the bizarreness of this experience and entered fully into the mind of such a kidnap victim, made worse by the fact she was a female in a house full of teenage males, and experiences that are so extreme it's hard to believe they really happened. Apparently there are worse things that were left out of the book, which is hard to believe.

It was so well-written truly I couldn't put it down when I started it and stayed awake until the early hours to finish it. The narrative is like a runaway train in its momentum, each time something happens you can't wait to see what happens next. I've never read a book that deserved more to be made into a movie.
42 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x978715a0) étoiles sur 5 Heartbreaking, Intense Memoir 12 septembre 2013
Par Christina S. - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I bought this book after listening to an interview with Ms. Lindhout on CBC radio. I'm glad I did. Her story is told with sensitivity, compassion and a non-ironic reflectiveness. Though it was difficult to read at times, I couldn't put it down for long... I finished in only two days.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97822f3c) étoiles sur 5 And now to read Nigel's account, too. 4 décembre 2013
Par Save the Elephants - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Focusing strictly on the narrative, I have to recommend this book very highly. It relates a harrowing experience in a very skillful way, only in a few passages verging on the overly artful. Outer action and suspense beautifully balance inner reflection and suffering. Pain is described openly but not indulgently; situations and settings are described clearly. Did Amanda get some help with the prose? My guess is that she did--not just with the editing but also the more artful descriptions and phrasing. It's just speculation on my part, and it doesn't make the story on the page any less enthralling.

Many people have commented on Amanda's naivete, but I'm more interested in her attraction to danger, what she refers to, late in the book, as a foolish sense of invincibility. Early chapters reveal a difficult, dysfunctional childhood, but we are left to make connections between that and her choices as a self-made freelance journalist learning on the fly.

As more and more horrors unfold on the page, I wonder when the narrator will reflect on those choices, but it comes in only 1-2 paragraphs late in the book, and more in the form of a rapid summary of personality traits and apologies and not as elaborated introspection. I'm sure that Amanda and Corbett (and the publisher) made conscious decisions about how much or little of that to include. Memoirs can't be all things to all people. Some of the best read more like novels than confessions or self-analyses, and that's to their credit.

Yes, Amanda suffered from naivete and maybe a bit of false invincibility, but she is certainly not the first person in her or his mid-twenties to surf among the sharks. I can certainly think of times when my own desire for adventure or a transcendent traveling experience blinded me to reality, but I can't imagine venturing blithely into one of the most dangerous places on earth--Mogadishu--after surviving Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't get it, but that's my projection, and the internet age has a way of making the world into a big backyard. Her return to Somalia also seems strange. I love the forgiveness and the creation of a foundation to fund educational opportunities for the women there, but it strikes me as more odd than brave or therapeutic to return to the belly of the beast, the site of extreme trauma. Again, that's my projection.

Back to the narrative itself, I have to say that the description of the escape into the mosque and the momentary rescue by the Somali woman is one of the most devastating sequences I have read or viewed in a movie. The sheer facts are moving enough, but the writing lifts those scenes from the page and drives them into our hearts.
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