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House of Sand and Fog (Oprah's Book Club) (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – November 16, 2000
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Dubus tells his tragic tale from the viewpoints of the two main adversaries, Behrani and Kathy. To both of them, the house represents something more than just a place to live. For the colonel, it is a foot in the door of the American dream; for Kathy, a reminder of a kinder, gentler past. In prose that is simple yet evocative, House of Sand and Fog builds to its inevitable denouement, one that is painfully dark but unfailingly honest. --Alix Wilber
From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Despite a storyline that sounds less-than-inspiring, HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG captured my attention within the first few pages. The book begins in the stunningly realistic first-person voice of Massoud Behrani, once a Colonel in the Shah's army, now hunkered down in the United States because he and his family are marked for death in their mother country of Iran. Unable to find a job, Behrani is reduced to working for the county, picking garbage from the side of a California highway. Desperate to make a respectable life for his family, Behrani spends his family's dwindling savings to purchase a small house at auction, hoping to resell it at a large profit.
Enter Kathy Nicolo, a former drug addict, now barely keeping her head above water after her husband left her. The bungalow she inherited from her father is swept out from under her because of a delinquent tax bill she doesn't actually owe. Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon takes a personal interest in Kathy's case, and becomes enmeshed in her struggle to win back her home. Despite a wife and two small children, he finds himself in love with Kathy. Dubus skillfully weaves the story of Kathy and Lester--a doomed, hopelessly codependent dance--against the backdrop of their fight for justice and the return of Kathy's house.Read more ›
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 the 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 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, 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. Things get ugly.Read more ›
This is an incredible story revolving around a house and the house's rightful owner. Colonel Behrani was at the top of the Iranian army when the government was overthrown and his family was forced to leave Iran and seek refuge in America. You read, with tears in your eyes, as this once powerful man tries to achieve the American dream for his family. He takes on menial jobs in an effort to save enough money for a house.
Kathy Nicolo, a recovering alcoholic and addict, has a house. She also finds the act of opening mail from the County Tax Collector to be mundane. Because of her negligence in not opening her mail, her house is sold at public auction. Now the fight for the rightful owner of this property begins. A third person enters the scenario. His name is Lester and he is a married cop. You know the saying, "two's company, three's a crowd". Well, it couldn't be more true than in this book.
The circumstances of this house's ownership spiral out of control. At times I couldn't believe what I was reading. Your sympathies may run the gamut from one character to the next but one thing is for sure -- you will definitely walk away from this reading experience and NEVER, NEVER forget this book. It is truly a masterpiece.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
House of Sand and Fog is written with incredible talent and grace. The different point-of-views used in the book are fluid and very believable. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Dakota
This is one of my absolute favorite books! The twists in this story are like a roller coaster ride! I have read this several times and I know I will read it many more! Read morePublished 29 days ago by Darcy L Howard
This is such an amazingly touching story with NO winners! Heartbreaking tale! Saw the movie years ago and loved it but the book is FAR better!Published 1 month ago by Denise
This book contains diverse twist and turns, an end the reader will not see coming.Published 1 month ago by Marie A. Voltaire
There are no heroes in The House of Sand and Fog, only flawed people, struggling to recover from devastating changes to their lives. Read morePublished 1 month ago by DaveL
Interesting twists and turns. Thought the characters were particularly descriptive.Published 1 month ago by smart shopper
Great imagery, foreshadowing and plot development until the end where there was probably 1000 words too many and I found myself skipping pages, out of boredomPublished 2 months ago by E. Smith