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

House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel is rated 3.6333 out of 5 by 30.
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, 8 × 5.13 × 0.77 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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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from the house of sand and for a spell binding, well written novel. could not put it down. intriguing characters.  author created a wonderful theme.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Loved how the different lives of the characters intertwined.
Date published: 2010-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! Obviously you either loved or hated this book! I saw the movie first and was intrigued. The book proved itself to be soooo much better in the character development and the twists that never appeared in the movie, especially at the end. This book is huge in depth of character and you can empathize with both sides of the conflict. What a complex plot this is.......Great book!
Date published: 2006-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from an extraordinary glimpse into the world of today. i picked this novel up about 2 summers ago...and usually, i wasn't really the type to read anything related to this type of novel. once i began reading it, i found that i related just so much to both the characters of lester and kathy, but i also could relate to the behranis as well. i thought this novel was an excellent view into the lives of separate families and nationalities which dominate our societies today, and how they come to think differently and touch base on their customs and how the world is seen through their eyes. dubus is a very talented writer. his characters are so real and whether or not you want to become attached to this novel, you become part of it because in some way or another, you can relate. i most definitely think this novel can bne compared to the film "crash" because not only does it explore the relationships between people, it touches base with sexuality, racist, discrimination, social order, suicide....and although this novel might be a darker read, i think that people should dive into it and read it through and through. in a world like ours today where everything is so up in the air, it's great to know that someone has a head on their shoulders and can write about what is it we are so blind to see. thanks for the excellent read.
Date published: 2006-08-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Depressing House of Sand and Fog was just simply depressing and not to mention, disturbing. The book started off slow but began to pick up momentum pretty quickly. The characters were very eccentric in a fictional way; the setting that Dubus creates is very original but fake. However, the book is believable at the same time. The ending is a complete bloodbath. If you are in search of something at least with a bit of happiness, find something else.
Date published: 2006-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An interesting read- in my top 10 It is fun to read the book reviews of other people. I loved this book and would consider it to be in my top 10 reads in a long time. Others, however, did not like it at all. It just goes to show how books are often just a matter of taste. I have not seen this movie and have heard that it doesn't do the book much justice.
Date published: 2005-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from an amazing read When I was given this book and told it's about a house , I didn't expect much. But what I got was an unbelievably moving, great paced story that blew me away. I think the main thing I left with was the feeling that this could actually happen to people. This is without a doubt in my top 10.
Date published: 2004-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Readable Lively... well-paced... highly readable - House of Sand and Fog races like a champion Indy car driver, negotiating each turn at full throttle, and in complete control. The change in narration and accompanying prose doesn't detract but advances a refreshing trilogy-like three novels in one, each complementing the other. The storytelling intrigues on many levels: cultural assimilation, the immigrant experience and the tangled web of marital deceit and desperation. The relationship between Lester and Kathy, while sinful, also seems far too thrown-together to be taken seriously, their complicity and eventual undoing is predictable, as is the irrepressible Colonel Behrani whose character seems void of any kind of real dimension. His pride and love of a family charms in the beginning but later seems contrived, even selfish, making it difficult to evoke any genuine reader sympathy.
Date published: 2004-05-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not worth the time I was more than a little surprised at this book. The two main characters were boring and predictable, not to mention trashy. The only reason I even finished it was because I did like the Iranian family characters. At least they were believable. I never buy books based solely on the fact that Oprah has put her stamp on them, and this is a great example of why. Save yourself a few bucks and avoid this one.
Date published: 2003-11-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Almost really good This was my vacation novel, and I couldn't put it down until two-thirds of the way through. The writing perspective is very captivating, as you read a few pages from one character's perspective, followed by a few pages from the other character's perspective. I found that when I put the book down, I kept thinking about the people and their lives and how it may unfold... But at some point, the story line begins to slide. I felt like I was watching a really poorly written TV movie-of-the-week where they throw in as many plot lines as possible. At one point I thought the story was like an episode of Jerry Springer! Overall I am glad to have read the book and I enjoyed the characters. However, I would recommend borrowing the book rather than spending $20 on it!
Date published: 2002-05-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very Depressing Although this novel was filled with suspense and was definitely a page-turner, it left me very depressed. The beginning was quite slow and was difficult to keep my attention. The ending was depressing and left me feeling low. I would not recommend this book simply because of it's dark nature.
Date published: 2001-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth reading Culture, materialism, misperception all come clashing together in this emotionally inclusive book. Excellent articulation of how one persons tragedy is anothers opportunity. This book brings you, as the reader, into the story and flawlessly presents the perspective of each character's unique circumstances. As a reader you empathize with Kathy and Behrani, but you know that someone must compromise their values, beliefs and pride.
Date published: 2001-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Disgusting, but interesting While it was surely engrossing and hard to put down, I would only recommend this book to someone who actually wants to feel down and depressed. Not that all books need a happy ending, but c'mon, Mr. Dubus, a small ray of hope would have been nice.
Date published: 2001-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Up and Down I could not put this book down, for a while. I found that my interest faded in the middle. The end was fabulous, but by that time I was already bored, and found it hard to get into it again. I felt the most sympathy for Mr. Behrani. He was trying to make a good life for his family, the mess with the house wasn't his fault. He did the best he could. Kathy had a pretty hard time, but she made some pretty rash, unwise decisions. I didn't feel any sympathy for Lester. He made his own bed. Speaking of beds, I could have done w/out the sex. It didn't do anything to enhance the book. Over all, the book was excellent, but it left me feeling very down in the end.
Date published: 2001-03-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Intent Unclear Suspenseful, yes, but I felt frustrated that the most self-centered, immoral, evil character was the one who survived. I could not understand the author's intent about Kathy,as she is the most contemptible one of all. yet she survives, continuing to smugly think only of her immendiate pleasures and herself. I had much more sympathy for Behrani, who is at least able to think of others and love his son. Kathy, an addict, destroys herself physically and emotionally and never once thinks of how her actions affect anyone. To me, it was such a let down to have her amusing herself at the end when her actions had brought down everyone, including the most sympathetic character in the book, Behrani's son. It was annoying not to understand the author's intent in her characterization.
Date published: 2001-03-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too bad about the ending Most of the way through this book, I really was engrossed..until the last 100 pages. The premise for the plot was very interesting and unusual. Dubuc does an excellent portrayal of a needy young woman who is fighting her addictions (alcohol, tobacco, cocaine)and a Persian immigrant who desparately is trying to establish his life in America as it was when he was a Colonel in the Iranian military. Both need the house to establish themselves and to find a grounding in their lives. The Lester character is also well developed and his internal conflicts are well portrayed. I had a lot of sympathy for all of them at different time in the book. At first the story gathers momentum, but about three-quarters of the way through, it seems to start to spin out of control. Later, violence seems to take over and the characters are no longer believable by the end. What a shame.
Date published: 2001-03-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from House of Sand and Fog I was not impressed with this book, and fail to see why it has hit the bestsellers list. I will say it was well-written, and in that sense it was a riveting read. Unfortunately, none of the characters were likeable, they were mostly unbelievable and the story was beyond depressing. The sex was explicit, not usually a complaint of mine, but I think if I had liked the characters then the sex wouldn't have been so offensive. Not a book I would recommend to a friend, and I offer my sincere apologies to my book club members for having suggested it.
Date published: 2001-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Riviting This is a book that I couldn't put down. It makes you change the way you view relationships and what is important to you. It awakens the inner self in you and lets out tremendous emotion. House of Sand and Fog taunts you to loose the materialistic qualities that you possess for something deeper. This book is one of the best Oprah picks yet!!!
Date published: 2001-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Suspense at it's best! Great mystery and intrigue was built into the plot of House of Sand and Fog. The not knowing and suspense is what made this novel a great read. Dubus created characters that will continue to be very memorable long after the book is put down. At times the reader despises them, but turn the page and your opinion will shift again. The characters, Kathy, a needy woman; Lester, a cop on the edge; Mr. Berhrani, a former colonel in seach of respect in a new country, collide tragically in their attempt to maintain ownership of this house. For ownership means a new career and dignity for the Colonel and his family, and Kathy it signifies stability and progress. House of Sand and Fog captures the issues of dependence (emotional, physical, and substance), status in society, family, desperation, and immigration. The book challenges the readers values and morals. This was by far the least predictable book that I have ever encountered. A great read individually or for a book club!
Date published: 2001-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An alright book On the whole, The House of Sand and Fog was decent. It is definitely a novel that would lend itself well to the big screen, especially in the hands of a flamboyantly cinematic director. Dubus has obviously done a significant amount of research into Persian (Iranian) culture and history, but he should have spent some time looking into some more pedestrian bits of knowledge. One thing that really bothered me, for some reason, were the scenes in which Lester cut down fresh oak trees and instantly was able to make a hot cooking fire with them (green wood does not burn very well at all). The story itself had a few tense moments, but some scenes were a bit over the top and reminded me of something one might read in a Harlequin romance. Character development was excellent, but in the end I found I didn't sympathize with any of the main characters. This makes it hard to truly appreciate the book.
Date published: 2001-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! When I saw this book on Oprah I bought it. It was NOT what I expected! This book made me cry, laugh and wonder at what would drive people to do certain things. The ending shocked me and I cannot stop talking about it!
Date published: 2001-02-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Greek Tragedy? Seamy sex between a married man, who is both a sheriff and devoted father, and a separated woman was not what I expected to find in this novel. Written like a Greek tragedy, Dubus does a good job of depicting the major characters. The plot is, however, very unrealistic! Do Americans really want to hown a house this badly? To obtain a greater impact on the reader, Dubus could have shortened the novel.My interest waned in the middle. The sex & violence would turn this book into a popular movie. An unexpected ending!
Date published: 2001-02-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Wait for the movie This book has a lot going for it: interesting and believable characters; escalating tension; and a shocking ending. So why did I get bored halfway through? I found myself flipping past pages of description, and it seemed that Lester's point of view was introduced too late. The novel could have been trimmed by 50 pages without losing any impact -- or it could easily be turned into a movie.
Date published: 2001-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Left me shaking. This was my first book I read that had the sticker "Oprah's book club". I usually read National Bestsellars but I wanted to try something new. This book brought so many emotions out of me from anger, happiness and pure sadness. This is what reading is all about. "House of Sand and Fog" awoke the hunger I did not know I possessed for reading. I recommend this book to any reader who wants to be left with a piece of their soul altered for life.
Date published: 2001-02-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sorry Oprah This book was chosen by my book club due largely to the way Oprah raved about it as one of her favorites. Sorry Oprah I could not disagree more. It started off with an interesting premise and did hold my attention until about the half way point. I then found the plot to deteriorate in a hurry. The characters actions just seemed more and more unbeleivable, I kept finding myself thinking how stupid can these people be. And what was with the raunchy sexual descriptions that seemed to have little or nothing to do with the story. Overall, a disappointment.
Date published: 2001-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from House of Sand and Fog Powerful. I can honestly say I sympothized with each character and lived in their motivation. There is no protagonist/antagonist here. The issues at heart here are as real as the pages they are written on. Dubs is a masterful story teller who breathes life into his characters with his attention to detail....Completely captivating!
Date published: 2001-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great characters If you're looking for a book with razor sharp and unique characters, pick up The House of Sand and Fog. I truly enjoyed the book because it was written from the perspective of 2 characters who if you passed on the street in everyday life, you'd be very likely to pass by with out much consideration. This book really gets you thinking outside your own paradigm and examines larger social communication issues. It's the whole 'don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes' sentiment.
Date published: 2001-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Oprah picks another winner! As a big fan of Oprah's Book Club, immediately picked this up. Although at times a little hard to believe, I found this book to be very enjoyable. I found myself sympathizing with the main characters, and eager to find out the end. This was a book that I could not put down.
Date published: 2001-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well-written, but not enthralling I picked this up with enthusiasm, and at the start the alternation between two points of view that would eventually collide was interesting. However, I found the pace very static - something was unfolding but the story neither excited me nor disappointed me. Even the various conflicts in the book were very static. In the end, the book is well-written, with the author alternating between American elocution and Middle-eastern very well. It's worthwhile examination of character degeneration, but hardly an engrossing or riveting novel.
Date published: 2001-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a good book After i read this book i wanted to read more by the same author. It was a generally well written book, but there were a few sections which i didnt understand. I dont think that there is a sequel to this book but i hope there was. This book definately deserves an above average rating. I would recomend this book to anyone who enjoys reading absorbing books. i would not call this book light reading. I found that i was absorbed into this book fairly quickly, except in an area around the middle where the story gets quite boring. I liked this book.
Date published: 2001-01-02

– More About This Product –

House Of Sand And Fog: A Novel

by Andre Iii Dubus

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8 × 5.13 × 0.77 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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