Although this book starts as a travelogue of a carefree Canadian's solo travels off the beaten path, we soon see shadows of what lies ahead: kidnap and torture in Somalia. A memoir of painful brilliance. — Jennifer Armstrong
September 2013 Indie Next List
“As a child Amanda Lindhout escaped from her bleak, impoverished surroundings by immersing herself in the wonders and exotic locales in old National Geographic magazines she bought for herself with scrounged small change. As a young adult she found that she could make good money as a cocktail waitress and take herself to these same far away places for weeks and months at a stretch. Fearless, curious, hungry for experience and adventure she traveled the world, visiting dozens of countries, including Pakistan, Sudan, and Syria, making friends, taking lovers, taking risks, and making mistakes. It was when she decided to go to Somalia, 'the most dangerous place on earth', and convinced a former lover to join her there, that her hunger for adventure took her too far. Amanda and her friend Nigel were kidnapped for ransom and held in unspeakably awful conditions for over a year. Her memoir, A HOUSE IN THE SKY, recounts her ordeal, telling a tale of desperate men and boys who see the payoff as a way out of their own impossible circumstances, as Amanda and Nigel become weak, desperate and despairing, struggling to survive the horrific conditions in which they find themselves.
As hard as A HOUSE IN THE SKY was to read, I could not put it down. Beautifully told, with a happy outcome, Amanda Lindhout and her gifted co-author Sara Corbett take the reader to places one wouldn't likely find in National Geographic yet are so important to know about.”
— Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
The "New York Times" bestselling memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world's most remote places and then into fifteen months of captivity: "Exquisitely told...A young woman's harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph" ("The New York Times Book Review"). As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of "National Geographic" and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress, 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 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. Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, "A House in the Sky" is "a searingly unsentimental account. Ultimately it is compassion--for her naive younger self, for her kidnappers--that becomes the key to Lindhout's survival" ("O, The Oprah Magazine").