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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 1999, 365 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2000, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. A devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.

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 ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

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.

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.

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.

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!!!!!

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

Gingerkate

I thought this one of the most intelligent novels I have read, in that the characters are constructed so carefully that the devastating outcome of their actions becomes totally believable. It isn't the sort of novel I'd usually choose (Margaret ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked House of Sand and Fog, try these:

  • In the Kitchen jacket

    In the Kitchen

    by Monica Ali

    Published 2010

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Amid the fading glory of the Imperial Hotel, embattled Executive Chef Gabriel Lightfoot tries to maintain his culinary integrity in the hotel's restaurant, while managing an unruly but talented group of immigrant cooks.

  • The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears jacket

    The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

    by Dinaw Mengestu

    Published 2008

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A haunting and powerful first novel that views the streets of Washington, D.C. and Addis Ababa through the eyes of Sepha who, seventeen years ago, fled Ethiopia during the Revolution, and now runs a failing convenience store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington. Published as The Beautiful Thing That Heaven Bears in the USA, ...

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...
  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...
  • Book Jacket: Night of the Animals
    Night of the Animals
    by Bill Broun
    Debut novelist Bill Broun is a gentle, exquisite literary surgeon. His protagonist, 90-year-old ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.