A House in the Sky

A House in the Sky

A Memoir

eBook - 2013
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The spectacularly dramatic memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her from rural Canada to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia—a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.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.
Publisher: 2013
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. New York : Scribner, 2013. Requires OverDrive Read (file size: N/A KB) or Adobe Digital Editions (file size: 3533 KB) or Kobo app or compatible Kobo device (file size: N/A KB) or Amazon Kindle (file size: N/A KB)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
ISBN: 9781451645620


From Library Staff

I first heard about this book on NPR and was intrigued by Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian woman who was kidnapped in 2008 and held for ransom in Somalia. Linkhout ventured into Somalia to make her reputation as a journalist. Four days into her visit she and her photographer, Nigel Brennan, were kidna... Read More »

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Jul 05, 2018

I'm surprised so many have said that the first chapters were slow and dragged on. I really appreciated hearing her travels and her descriptions of the exotic places that she visited. Places that most people will never in their lifetime visit.
What a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down. I was in awe of the strength and resilience that carried her through.

May 29, 2018

A harrowing memoir of a young Canadian woman held captive in Somalia for 15 months. Unfortunately for Amanda, she was blamed and judged for her experience. Why was she in such a dangerous country etc.? I think she does a good job explaining how it all came about. Though some said the beginning of the book was slow, I think she needed to show her great experiences with travel before Somalia--even in countries she was told not to go to like Pakistan and Afghanistan. This set up her decision to go to Somalia (along with being young and naive). While being held captive she showed strength of mind and spirit beyond expectation. Especially frustrating and crazy was the description of her attempted escape. Great reading even if you don't think you like nonfiction.

Jan 22, 2018

I missed my bus stop while reading this it was so good! That said, the first 15 chapters or so drag on for far too long. If the first part had been condensed, I would have rated it 5 full stars.

Jul 21, 2017

Real and powerful, this story is still on my mind after eighteen months. Beautifully written.

Mar 26, 2017

What comes through for me is Lindhout’s honesty – her willingness to own her impetuous decisions that landed her in this harrowing 15-month ordeal. I admire her strong minded attempt to stay positive, her resilience and resourcefulness, and her empathetic decision after her release to start a non-profit to help educate young Somalis. It’s a balanced account of her experience, told with introspection and the fullness of her human spirit.

Mar 08, 2017

Though she claims twice in the book that she wasn't naive, she sure came across as naive or worse. That being said, the harrowing tale of her ordeal should not be faced by anyone. The book is presented in a matter of fact way on how she approached her captivity. Mostly interesting, it is worth reading if you are interested.

Jan 09, 2017

A haunting and powerful memoir. I did find the early days dragged a bit - could have condensed this. When Amanda was planning her trip to Somalia I thought why on earth would she go there!? The experiences she and Nigel endured were beyond what many of us could deal with. To compare these captors to animals is insulting to animals who don't torture and only kill to survive. Amanda's enduring strength and willingness to live despite everything is awesome.

Aug 23, 2016

A very grim read.

Jul 05, 2016

The book is powerful; I think that everyone who has read it will agree with that. So for that – five stars for it. But as this is a memoir, so the most talk is about real facts described in this book and the person who is behind them – Amanda Lindhout. There are lots of talks in internet about all that happened to her and to Nigel Brennan in Somalia. Mostly, after she published this book. Many, many people are blaming her for to put her and Nigel in very cruel situation – because she knew about dangers, but she was such an arrogant person, too much self-confident, that she thought - whatever happened to somebody else – never will happen to her. But as one of her captors said (from the book) – “Look, this is not Paris, not Toronto. This is Somalia”. One of the journalists from National Geographic, who was at the same time that Amanda and Nigel in hotel in Somalia and who had to be kidnapped, and not Amanda and Nigel, but because of set of circumstances, it did not work out as planned originally by kidnappers, wrote after the fact, that his first impression of Amanda after introducing herself in hotel was- “O, she will make kill herself or somebody who will be with her”. Many people are asking – why she went there? It did no good to anyone, including herself? It’s like to go directly to an open mouth of a hungry wolf.
Anyway. Her optimism is admirable. It’s unique in a way. There is a question - is (was) she mentally well? Maybe she has a masochistic personality? Could it be true? We don’t know.
But in her photos, including on the cover of this book, - there is not a bit of laceration, stress, suffering inside of her soul. The impression is that she is happy about everything. More - there is no TV or radio show where she is not participated – Amanda is everywhere! Glossy photographs – as a model from fashion magazines. I read memoirs of other kidnapped victims, including women, after such terrible experiences, they never ever were the same again, like before the ordeal, and you won’t see their pictures in fashion outfits - “modeling”, as it happens with Amanda.
There is something not an authentic in her – I cannot point it out, but it's hard to believe that after her captors did to her – she is “forgiving” them because they are also victims of the war – as she put it. That is not a normal reaction of a person who recently suffered so much. Contrary to Nigel. He seems more authentic. But who am I to judge?
Unfortunately the relations between her and Nigel deteriorated. You can find recent tweets of him about her. Not cordial or friendly at all. Cold. This is because he said that ransom was paid completely by ausie part, including his family and sponsors. And he is undignified, apparently, of not telling complete truth by Amanda about who paid ransom. That is sad. But it is life.
Amanda Lindhout right now shouldn’t put herself in public attention how she is doing so. She looks as an attention seeker. And what for all that foundation – to help Somalian women with a basketball? Maybe she should leave them alone; they probably do not need her. Between all of those women who she met during her captivity only one was willing to help her. The rest – were very agree with kidnappers.

May 05, 2016

So hard to think of the circumstances that she lived it is a common happening in so many places around the world; her faith and spiritual strength is admirable.

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Jul 11, 2018

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Oct 28, 2014


... Travel gave me something to talk about, something to be. That I'd just been to Nicaragua or was thinking about going to Ethiopia seemed, in the eyes of the people I encountered at work, to override the fact I hadn't been to college or that I was late in getting a round of dirty mojitos to table nine. It helped erase the past, too, allowing me to duck questions about where I'd grown up or who my parents were. Among travelers, talking about the past usually meant talking about the just passed. The expiration date on old experiences came quickly. What mattered most was where you were going next.


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