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The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world s most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace
As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of "National Geographic" and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia the most dangerous place on earth. On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.
Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives wife lessons from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.
Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, "A House in the Sky" is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-24
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)