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A House in the Sky: A Memoir

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Amanda Lindhout

Narrated By: Sarah Corbett

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: September 2013

Duration: 13 hours 19 minutes


A House in the Sky is the superbly-written and intensely moving memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a 31-year-old Canadian woman who was kidnapped in Somalia and held for a harrowing 460 days. Even prior to the 2008 morning when her captors abducted her on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Lindhout’s story is an unusual one: After finishing high school in hard-scrabble Alberta, she moved to the big city—Calgary—and became a cocktail waitress, saving her tips from customers flush with oil-boom cash. At the age of 20, with her newfound income, Lindhout boarded her first international flight. As a child, she had escaped a house governed by chaos and violence, her mother often beaten in the room next door, by paging through copies of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. Now she would see those places for real.

She traveled through Latin America, then Laos, then Bangladesh and India. When money ran out, she returned home to save for the next adventure, launching herself each time deeper into the world—backpacking solo across Sudan, Syria, Pakistan—and closer to some sort of edge. In Afghanistan in 2006 she developed an interest in journalism, ultimately carving out a fledgling career as a TV reporter. Following the lead of war correspondents she’d encountered, all of whom had planted themselves in the heart of the 21st century’s hottest conflicts, Lindhout based herself in Kabul and then Baghdad. In August 2008, she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia— “the most dangerous place on earth”— to report on an impending famine. Three days into her visit—along with Nigel Brennan, an Australian photojournalist and ex-boyfriend—she was abducted.

As much as it is an adventure story charting a young woman’s search to find herself in a big world, A House in the Sky tells an astoundingly intimate story of Lindhout’s 15 months as a captive, including a revealing look at fundamental Islam as practiced by the young men guarding her. As her mother in Canada attempts to negotiate impossible ransom demands, Lindhout focuses on staying alive—converting to Islam, receiving “wife lessons” from an amorous militia leader, and plotting a risky escape that has devastating consequences. She is kept in chains, nearly starved, and endures escalating abuse from her captors. One of her survival techniques is to imagine herself in a “house in the sky,” looking down at the woman shackled in the dark room.

Amanda Lindhout’s story is a wrenching testament to the capacity of the human spirit to overcome unspeakable adversity and find a deeper resolve to live—in this case, through memory, imagination, and an essential, heart-stopping discovery about the power of compassion and forgiveness.


  • Maricel P.

    I was teary eyed towards the end of the book. What an amazing spirit. May you be happy Amanda, may you be well.

  • Kelly L

    Heart reaching storey. Told in such great detail. Amazing journey of not giving up.

  • Melissa L

    Absolutely loved this book. Such an amazing read.

  • Jessica W

    Excellent reading. Realizing we all don't know until we know.

  • Jackie Vance

    Excellent listen, very interesting and horrifying, makes me want to stay at home.

  • Erica McMullen

    Excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Narration is easy to listen to and easy to follow.

  • jennifer jones

    Not to be missed- a story of hope, survival, and forgiveness. A sincere tale of taking chances and how the choices we make have a ripple effect on all around us. A stunning tale of survival against all odds.

  • Angela Pelletier

    Fantastic! Loved every minute. Well done! I would for sure recommend this book and audiobook! I too am from Alberta (north of Red deer )and could relate to where she came from.

  • Whitney Miller

    A really great book about living a full life, and having courage and strength to endure difficult times. The narrator is the author and while I did enjoy hearing the book from the authors voice at times I felt like there wasn't emotion in what she was saying.