When Kathy, a young recovering alcoholic recently separated from her husband, fails to a open a series of tax letters that have been sent to her in error, the State of California seizes the house she and her brother have inherited from her father.
The State sells the house at auction to Behrani, a former Iranian Air Force officer.
Unable to parley his skills into a job in aerospace in the US, the house represents an entry into real estate and a passport to the future of his family and his own version of the American Dream.
For Kathy, its loss is the last of a series of insults life has dealt her.
When she becomes involved with a married policeman who takes up her cause, the stage is set for a gut-wrenching tragedy.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 26/02/2004
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099453925
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by cal8769
Wow, how do you sum up the emotions that this book churns up?A friend asked me if I liked the book and I couldn't answer her. A good book, in my opinion, is a story that makes you want to read nonstop, you are obsessed with the characters, you know the characters as well as you know your friends and when the book is over you wish that you had just one more chapter....... Well this book had all of that, BUT.... How depressing can a story be? My heart broke for every single character in the story. Every person lost everything because of a house!!!!! I actually lost sleep thinking about these people.
Review by rainpebble
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III; (3 1/2*)Before coming to America, Genob Sarhang Massoud Amir Behrani was a colonel in the Iranian Air Force. Forced to flee when the Shah fell, he escaped with his wife and two children and a couple hundred thousand dollars. Now resettled in the San Francisco area, but thus far unable to find work in the aerospace industry, Behrani works two full time jobs, on a road crew and as a convenience store clerk. This labor is necessary because the family's money is dwindling quickly, thanks to his wife's insistence on maintaining their old standard of living and the need to put on a sufficiently opulent facade to get his daughter safely married off--for instance, their apartment costs $3000 per month. Then one day, noticing an announcement of a tax auction in the newspaper, he decides to use their remaining savings to buy a house and then try to turn it around quickly for a profit.Meanwhile, the house had previously belonged to Kathy Niccolo, a recovering alcoholic whose addict husband has run out on her. She works as an independent house cleaner, barely making ends meet and has ignored the county tax bill because it should not have been assessed against her house. But now she has been evicted and though Legal Aid lawyers help her to win a judgment from the county they can not make Behrani give up the house but only compensate her. She also receives help from Sheriff Lester Burdon, whose marriage has lost it's passion and the two become lovers. Together and separately they begin to take steps to force the Behranis out of their new home. This is when things get ugly.The book is a page turner which enveloped me in such a cloud of dread that I just kept reading faster and faster because I couldn't stand the thought of what was to come.Colonel Behrani is a perfect example of why anti-immigration policies are insane. He works very hard to provide a better life for his family and wants nothing from anyone except to be left alone to pursue the American Dream. He resembles a tragic hero whose stubborn pride and unshakable faith in his dreams collude to help destroy him.Kathy on the other hand even setting aside her addiction problems has irresponsibly allowed legal events to get out of hand and now burns with a sense of false entitlement. Her benign approach to her job stands in stark contrast to Behrani's willingness to humble himself to take virtually any job. Her relationship with Lester results in his leaving a wife and two young children. His wife whose only failure is that Lester feels for her as he would towards a sister which is hardly a reason to destroy a family. And this step is merely Lester's first in a chain which becomes increasingly dubious. Eventually his behavior can only be defined as pathological.Andre Dubus III is the son of one of America's greatest short story writers. As his father has passed on I find it heartening that he has picked up the reigns.I found this to be a very intense and taut tale.