Book jacket
A house in the sky : a memoir


"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. 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 TV 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 is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse. She survives 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"--Provided by publisher.

Item Details


Other Authors: Corbett, Sara.


  • 9781451651690
  • 9781451651485
  • 9781451645613
  • 9781451645606
  • 1451651694
  • 1451651481
  • 1451645619
  • 1451645600

Edition: Scriber export edition.

Description: 373 pages ; 22 cm


  • Canadiana.
  • Includes a Scribner Reading Group Guide.
  • Includes bibliographical references.

Link to PAC
Krakauer, Jon — These authors' works are Disturbing, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Voyages and travels'.
Seierstad, Asne, 1970- — These authors' works are Sobering and Disturbing, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Journalists'.
McCall, Nathan — These authors' works are Disturbing, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Journalists'.
Gonsalves, Marc — These authors' works are Heartwrenching, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Hostages'.
Hafner, Katie — These authors' works are Heartwrenching, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Journalists'.
Goldberg, Jeffrey, 1965-; LeDuff, Charlie; Quammen, David, 1948-; Barry, Dan, 1958- — These authors' works are Sobering, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Journalists'.
Maynard, Joyce, 1953- — These authors' works are Disturbing, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Hostages'.
Buzzell, Colby — These authors' works are Sobering, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subject 'Voyages and travels'.
Anderson, Terry A., 1949- — These authors' works are Sobering, and they share: the genre 'Life stories' and the subjects 'Journalists' and 'Hostages'.

Reader Reviews

Approval Rating: 14.29% (1/7)
Average Rating: 3.82

★★★★☆ Well-written (Staff Review)

By Patron43269 on Tue, 30 Aug 2016 15:15:58

Amy Lindhout has lived an incredible life, from unstable beginnings in Alberta, Canada, to exotic travel across the globe. A House in the Sky tells her story from childhood to frightening events in Somalia in 2008, when she and a friend were abducted and held for ransom for 15 months. Even reading the details, it was difficult to imagine what the pair went through, not knowing if they would be released, rescued, or killed at any moment. There is lots of tension in this memoir and I found it hard to put down. I have never had a burning desire to travel to the world's danger zones, and this confirms my caution. ~Susan, Waterloo Public Library

★★★★★ Riveting & emotional. I loved it (Staff Review)

By Laurie P, WPL Staff on Wed, 03 Aug 2016 15:08:31

This is our local One Book, One Community read and going into it all I knew was that it was about a hostage situation involving a young Canadian journalist in Somalia. What I didn't expect was how riveting a book could be even though I already knew the outcome. A House in the Sky starts out showing Lindhout's childhood with her sometimes turbulent family life in Alberta, Canada. In her late teens she scrapes together enough money to make her first trip to Venezuela. Her love of travel is sparked and she continues to travel to far-off places including Pakistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Burma ... The more she travels the more dangerous some of her destination choices become, especially for a woman often traveling alone. In 2008 she arrives in Mogadishu, Somalia - an area rife with danger. Accompanying Lindhout is her former boyfriend Nigel Brennan, a photographer from Australia. Shortly after arriving in Somalia they are taken hostage and experience horrific conditions and torture. Many scenes aren?t for the faint of heart and knowing that this wasn?t a work of fiction caused me to be much more emotional than I had anticipated. Admittedly, some of Lindhout's decisions are naïve and impetuous and I had heard from other readers that her decisions frustrated them. I didn't have the same reaction. Instead, I thought she described her thought processes (and past experiences) well which enabled me to understand why she made those decisions. Still, it wasn't easy to read. I knew she'd be captured (and live through it). I knew there would, most likely, be violence and abuse and yet even though I knew generally how things would pan out for her I found myself on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book. Lindhout endured repeated torture and yet what will stay with me is her compassion and forgiveness towards her young tormentors (many of whom were teens and young men) and Nigel, her friend and fellow prisoner, who made some decisions that didn't sit well with me. Lindhout showed compassion and forgiveness far surpassing anything I think I could manage if I were put in the same situation. This well-written book will pull you into Lindhout?s small world and while you may not agree with some of her decisions, you will be captivated by this book. Even though she had such a devastating experience in Somalia, Lindhout has chosen to bring something positive to the people of Somalia via her organization, Global Enrichment Foundation which provides university scholarships to Somali women. This is a book that will stay with me for a very long time. I am eager to meet Lindhout this fall when her book tour comes through our area., Laurie P, Waterloo Public Library

★★★☆☆ STAFF REVIEW: Engaging...but not for everyone

By A. Shaw, WPL Staff on Sat, 21 May 2016 16:20:54

Amanda Lindhout must be extremely brave to revisit the traumas that she faced while kidnapped in Somalia. A great read for those who enjoy memoirs, or thought-provoking experiences, or who are interested in how the politics of the Middle East affect people who live and travel there, but certainly not for everyone. Some of the chapters, especially after the first half of the book, are horrific in terms of what Amanda describes, and it's difficult not to flip through to the end to remind yourself that she (eventually) gets free. If it were a movie, it'd be rated "M for Mature" - for graphic violence, torture, and psychological manipulation. But if you manage to stomach her descriptions, Amanda manages to describe how she was able to survive, and how her experiences deeply affected her, in an often moving way. You may not always agree with her, but her writing is compelling and rings true. Just make sure to follow this book up with something lighter and happier - so you remember that there is some good in this world.

★★★★☆ A House in the Sky

By Patron34295 on Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:43:33

This was just one of those books that I couldn't put down. The book begins with Lindhout talking about her childhood. Admittedly, not that interesting but I understand why she included it - to give some context to her wanderlust (and naiveté). Lindhout's recounting of her adventures are exciting. Who wouldn't want the chance to explore the world in such detail? Somalia. Her experience in Somalia is beyond words. A worst nightmare. That she was able to live through it and write about it is testament to her strong spirit. Very moving. Christine

★★★★☆ A House in the Sky

By Paige Turnor Reviews on Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:58:57

This is one of those books that every time I was in a bookstore would stop, pick it up, contemplate and then put back down and tell myself another time. When it was selected as Chapters Indigo's October pick for their #worldsbiggestbookclub I knew it was finally time to dive in. And am I ever glad I did. Such a powerful and moving read full of real emotion. This memoir either seems to speak to you or it doesn't. There are a number of reviews out there that seem to think that Amanda Lindhout may have gotten what she deserves. This is very disheartening. Yes, she may have exposed herself to danger and been naive in thinking she was invincible but no matter if you are traveling in a "safe" country or a war torn country you never know what can happen. No one deserves to be raped, beaten and torched. I found it hard to understand how she remained so positive during her whole ordeal and has even gone as far as to forgive her captors. Just goes to show how strong of a woman she is, and I have nothing but respect for her. I found the first third of the book very interesting, while others found it boring I began to develop jealousy towards Lindhout, she was traveling to all the countries I've only dreamed about visiting and living the dream that many will never get to experience. At the end of her memoir she mentions that Nigel wrote a book about his experience in Somalia and I would be very interested on hearing his take on being imprisoned and his point of view. I am also excited that the book had been optioned into a movie and it will be very interesting to see how it comes out. What a true story of inspiration and perseverance.

★★★★★ Very Inspiring

By jwild on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:22:15

True story about a poor girl traveling the world and meeting new people. Her experiances and stories are amazing! Unfortunately some bad things happen to her but she prevails! A very inspiring book needless to say. I really enjoyed it!!

★★☆☆☆ A bit of a disappointment

By chapter on Sun, 10 Nov 2013 12:20:16

I was looking forward to reading Amanda's account of her ordeal in Somalia but this turned out to be more of her total life than that part. I realize that one must have a context of the way she lived prior to the event but to have more than half of the book devoted to it reduced the impact of that event .What was advertised was not what the book held.I skimmed through most of it.

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