Summary and book reviews of House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

House of Sand and Fog

By Andre Dubus III

House of Sand and Fog
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  • Hardcover: Feb 1999,
    365 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2000,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore his family's dignity. Kathy Niccolo is a recovering alcoholic and addict whose house is all she has left, and who refuses to let her hard-won stability slip away from her. Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice.

Drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hills--and what it represents to each of them--and doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge on an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.

The fat one, the radish Torez, he calls me camel because I am Persian and because I can bear this August sun longer than the Chinese and the Panamanians and even the little Vietnamese Tran. He works very quickly without rest, but when Torez stops the orange highway truck in front of the crew, Tran hurries for his paper cup of water with the rest of them. This heat is no good for work. All morning we have walked this highway between Sausalito and the Golden Gate Park. We carry our small trash harpoons and we drag our burlap bags and we are dressed in vests the same color as the highway truck. Some of the Panamanians remove their shirts and leave them hanging from their back pockets like oil rags, but Torez says something to them in their mother language and he makes them wear the vests over their bare backs. We are upon a small hill. Between the trees I can see out over Sausalito to the bay where there are clouds so thick I cannot see the other side where I live with my family in ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog, a uniquely American tragedy of taut suspense and profound emotional impact.

Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani was once a powerful and respected officer in the Shah of Iran's air force. Having fled the country with his family, he works by day spearing trash on California highways and by night as a clerk in a convenience store while deceiving his family into believing that he has a loftier job. Now, willing to risk the modest remainder of his fortune to restore his family's dignity, he buys a small house at a county auction, planning to sell it again for three or four times what he paid. But ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
The Boston Globe

A page-turner with a beating heart.

San Diego Union Tribune

An utterly believable, riveting journey--. Dubus has written a story that one cannot help but care about.

The Baltimore Sun

A mixture of classical tragedy perfectly imbued with film noir...the work of a writer who is the real thing.

Boston Magazine

Dubus proves himself both an exquisitely careful craftsman and a painstaking recorder of society.

Washington Post Book World

Elegant and powerful...an unusual and volatile...literary thriller.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Exceptional storytelling, true to life--searing and insightful--. You can't help but be impressed.

Los Angeles Times

The most rending kind of war is not between two hatreds, but between two hopes--. Dubus sets out the growing confrontation with chilly ingenuity and a remarkably observant compassion--. A fine and prophetic novel.

San Francisco Chronicle

It is rare these days to encounter a novel that follows the rules of Greek tragedy--. Dubus is a taker of risks--. A craftsman of character and dialogue, Dubus has dared to push his limits.

Seattle Weekly

A poignant drama that is engrossing--. A book full of longing, a vivid and exquisitely realized snapshot of America's underside.

Mirabella

Unputdownable--a page-turner that's a mind-opener--a thriller with moral complexity.

Reader Reviews
Helen M.

House of Sand and Fog
This book was indeed a page turning! I had a hard time putting it down. Bravo author!!!!!

sheela

The House of Sand and fog
The book is a fast paced book that had me hooked on to it. I could not put it down till I was done reading it. It is certainly a good book for a book club that would spark an animated discussion.

Anonymous

Great novel....decent ending

aileen

This book was amazing. i loved it from start to finish. I saw the movie first, but that is what encouraged me to read such a wonderful book. Although some of the characters DO tick me off a little.. like lester.. he made me mad because of the stupid...   Read More

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