The Sand Men Paperback – October 6, 2015
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
About the Author
- ASIN : 1781083746
- Publisher : Solaris (October 6, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781781083741
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781083741
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.38 x 0.9 x 7.81 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #298,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The plot concerns a father who takes his family to a a country-e.g. Qatar or Bahrain-where he is hired to work on a massive construction project. The family lives in an enclave of similar well off professionals who service the rulers of this society. The foreigners all learn to abide by the "thought rules" that govern speech and behavior. Any individual who questions or steps outside the bounds of this society dies in an "accident" or mysteriously disappears.
The dangers of questions-let alone free speech-in a fanatically restricted society is the real topic behind the story.
I have read all of Fowler's books and am a fan of his charming Bryant and May mysteries. But, I rank this serious and absorbing book as his masterwork.
Fowler is just such an interesting writer, I will read anything he puts out. The plot alone will grip you.
But Fowler is also--perhaps primarily--a horror author, and the horrific inevitably asserts itself in his work. As with his previous novel, the exceptional Nyctophobia, Fowler treads a line of ambiguity. There might be something deeper and more far-reaching than the wealthy hands guiding the construction of the Dream World resort in Dubai. The protagonist's observations are called into question, not only by people who might have ulterior motives but also by her own self-examination, and we are offered rational and realistic explanations for events. Fowler uses all of this material to touch on many contemporary concerns, from the problematic nature of cultural imperialism to the exploitation of working classes in projects driven by globalized economics.
As with most Ballard novels, Fowler's book is a slow burn, and there are significant events that happen "off screen," which might frustrate some readers. The plotting is deliberate and the descriptions careful, all of which leads to a rewarding read in the end.
Top reviews from other countries
It's an interesting premise and the story starts slowly - for an age it felt like nothing was happening, but there was a mild undercurrent of something happening behind the scenes (there are numerous mentions of "The Wizard of Oz", so the whole issue of things being hidden behind a curtain is relevant here) such as the people hiding in the underpass, and security guards telling Lea she shouldn't be in certain places but not really saying why. Fowler said this was his JG Ballard novel, and as a huge fan of Ballard's work I saw the similarities with the gated communities and the secret lives here.
There are however other similarities here, and I was constantly reminded of "The Stepford Wives". In that novel the men disappeared to their "men's club", but here they're kept at work for all hours, clearly doing something but exactly what is unclear, despite their talk of blocked drains, cracked marble and so on. Ultimately though the novel did feel a little, well, silly as it went on (no spoilers), and I found it became less convincing, and as others have commented the ending is an ambiguous let-down. I did enjoy it more than "Nyctophobia" and "Plastic", both of which I felt were low points in Fowler's otherwise excellent catalogue, but it's still far from the heights of the "Bryant & May" series and many of his other books. A real shame as I really thought I was going to love this because of the Ballard angle.
This would be a five star book if it hadn't gone off the boil a little at the end, but even if the destination is slightly disappointing, the journey alone justifies reading this extraordinary novel.