House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel

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House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel

by Andre Iii Dubus

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | November 16, 2000 | Trade Paperback

3.6333 out of 5 rating. 30 Reviews
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

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 resotre his family''s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman 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 doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: November 16, 2000

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375727345

ISBN - 13: 9780375727344

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel

House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel

by Andre Iii Dubus

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: November 16, 2000

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375727345

ISBN - 13: 9780375727344

About the Book

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
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 resotre his family's dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman 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 doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

Read from the Book

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 Berkeley, my wife and son. But here there is no fog, only sun on your head and back, and the smell of everything under the nose: the dry grass and dirt; the cigarette smoke of the Chinese; the hot metal and exhaust of the passing automobiles. I am sweating under my shirt and vest. I have fifty-six years and no hair. I must buy a hat. When I reach the truck, the crew has finished their water and the two Chinese light new cigarettes as they go back to the grass. The Panamanians have dropped their cups u
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From the Publisher

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

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 resotre his family''s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman 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 doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

From the Jacket

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
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 resotre his family''s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman 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 doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

About the Author

Andre Dubus III lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

From Our Editors

Once wealthy in Iran, Colonel Behrani is now a struggling immigrant hoping to restore his family`s dignity. Recovering alcoholic and addict Kathy Niccolo has nothing left but her house, but clings to her new-found stability. falling in love with Kathy, the married Sheriff Lester Burdon grows obsessed with helping her fight for justice. Drawn by competing desires, these three vulnerable, resolute souls disastrously collide in a small house in the California hills, doomed by tragic misunderstanding. Andre Dubus III`s empathetic, realistic House of Sand and Fog provides a startling look at the American Dream turned nightmare.  

Editorial Reviews

"A page-turner with a beating heart." -The Boston Globe

"A mixture of classical tragedy perfectly imbued with film noir.... House of Sand and Fog is the work of a writer who is the real thing." -The Baltimore Sun

"Elegant and powerful.... An unusual and volatile literary thriller." -The Washington Post Book World

"House of Sand and Fog is one of the best American novels I''ve ever read." -James Lee Burke

Bookclub Guide

US

1. Do you sympathize more with Kathy Nicolo or with Colonel Behrani in part one of the novel? How does Dubus''s use of alternating first-person narratives affect your response to, and involvement with, the characters?

2. The contested ownership of the house on Bisgrove Street is the fulcrum of the novel''s plot. Who, in your opinion, owns the house once Behrani has paid cash for it? What would be a fair solution to the conflict?

3. Early in the novel Behrani buys himself a hat, which he says gives him "the appearance of a man with a sense of humor about living, a man who is capable to live life for the living of it" [p. 28]. Why is this a poignant thing for Behrani to wish for himself? Does he in fact take life too seriously?

4. What does Kathy''s response to Nick''s desertion reveal about her character? Why does Lester fall in love with Kathy? Is he better for her than Nick was?

5. Lester tells Kathy that he had wanted to become a teacher, but plans changed when Carol became pregnant. Is Lester''s job in law enforcement a poor fit for him? Why did he once plant evidence in a domestic violence case?

6. Who, of the three main characters, is most complex? Who is most straightforward?

7. Where does the hostility between Lester and Behrani spring from? How do their memories-Lester''s of his teenage girlfriend and her brother, Behrani''s of his murdered cousin, Jasmeen-function to reveal the deep emotions that motivate action in this novel?

8. At what point do Kathy''s and Lester''s actions depart from the path of a simple desire for justice and move into something else? Why can neither of them seem to act rationally? Does Behrani act rationally?

9. Does Lester drink to break free of a sense of deadness, or to anesthetize himself? Why does he risk his family life as well as his professional life for his involvement with Kathy? Is he attempting to reinvigorate his life, or is he unconsciously seeking to destroy himself?

10. Note the epigraph to the novel, from "The Balcony" by Octavio Paz: "Beyond myself/ somewhere/ I wait for my arrival." How does it apply to the problems of self and alienation in each of the three main characters? Who has the clearest sense of his or her identity? What does it mean to have a clear sense of self?

11. Describing the success of her recovery program, Kathy says, "I had already stopped wanting what I''d been craving off and on since I was fifteen, for Death to come take me the way the wind does a dried leaf out on its limb" [p. 46]. How does the novel affect your response to the social and psychological issues of addiction, depression, and suicide? Do you find yourself being understanding or judgmental of Kathy as the stress of the conflict increases? Is she actually more of a survivor than she thinks she is?

12. Is Behrani''s wife, Nadereh, an admirable character? Does her feminine role in a very traditional marriage reduce her importance as an actor in this drama? Does she have qualities that are missing in Behrani, Kathy, and Lester?

13. Behrani tells his son, "Remember what I''ve told you of so many Americans: they are not disciplined and have not the courage to take responsibility for their actions. If these people paid to us the fair price we are asking, we could leave and she could return. It is that simple. But they are like little chidren, son. They want things only their way" [p. 172]. How accurate is his perception of Americans? How well does it apply to Kathy and Lester?

14. How does House of Sand and Fog highlight the conflict between downwardly mobile Americans and upwardly mobile recent immigrants? What role does racism play in the reaction of Americans and foreigners to each other?

15. Why has Kathy avoided telling her mother and brother the truth about her situation? Does their meeting at the end of the novel resolve any of Kathy''s difficult feelings about her place in the family?

16. Should Behrani be held responsible, on some level, for the crimes and excesses of the Shah''s regime? Is he responsible for Esmail''s fate?

17. Why does Behrani put on his military uniform at the climax of the novel?

18. What do you find most disturbing about the novel''s denouement? If you find yourself imagining an alternate ending, what would that ending be?

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