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
At the age of eighteen, Amanda Lindhout moved from her
hardscrabble Alberta hometown to the big city—Calgary—and worked as a cocktail
waitress, saving her tips so she could travel the globe. As a child, she
escaped a violent household by paging through National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales.
Now she would see those places for real. She backpacked through Latin America,
Laos, Bangladesh, and India and, emboldened by each experience, went on to
travel solo across 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 Mogadishu, Somalia—“the most dangerous place on
earth”—to report on the fighting there. On her fourth day in the country, she
and her photojournalist companion were abducted.
An astoundingly intimate and harrowing account of Lindhout’s
fifteen months as a captive, A House in
the Sky illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of
her young guards and the men in charge of them. She was kept in chains, nearly
starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse. She survived by imagining herself
in a “house in the sky,” looking down at the woman shackled below and finding
strength and hope in the power of her own mind. Lindhout’s decision, upon her
release, to counter the violence she endured by founding an organization to
help the Somali people rebuild their country through education is a wrenching
testament to the capacity of the human spirit and an astonishing portrait of
the power of compassion and forgiveness.
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