House of Sand and Fog Author:Andre Dubus III "Elegant and powerful...an unusual and volatile...literary thriller." --Washington Post Book World — 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 ... more »to bet everything he has to restore his family's dignity. Kathy Niccolo is a recovering alcoholic and addict 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 what it represents to each of them--and doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge on an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.« less
Very well done but very depressing. A man even stopped me on the beach when he saw what I was reading and commented on how depressing it was and was curious as to how I was handling it. It took me forever to read because I needed to take breaks every now and then and re-group.
Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/house-of-sand-and-fog.html
House of Sand and Fog is indeed the story of a house and the two sets of people who both feel that it is rightfully theirs. The Behranis are a family displaced from their homeland of Iran due to revolution. To them, this house is a last chance to restore some dignity to their lives. Kathy Lazaro is a recovering alcoholic and addict. To her, this house is her last refuge. The house is confiscated from Kathy Lazaro for tax purposes. The Behranis purchase it at auction. The rest of the book is the story of struggle between the two, leading to a dramatic and sad conclusion.
House of Sand and Fog is one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. All 365 pages of it. There is the longing of the Behrani family for a life long gone and a homeland no longer open to them. It is their struggle to understand a new place and to create a new life for themselves. It is their sad attempt to maintain appearances of their past successes and position in life.
Then, there is Kathy Lazaro. She struggles with her recovery from alcoholism and addiction. She has left her home and family to build a new life with her husband in California. Her husband deserts her. So, she too struggles with finding a new place and creating a new life. She too attempts to maintain the appearances of her happy, married life to her family back home.
Thrown into this mix is Lester Burton. He is a police officer who gets involved with Kathy Lazaro. He proceeds down a path that leads them all to a catastrophic result.
The characters in this book are realistic. The emotions they feel and the situations they find themselves in also ring true. Unfortunately, the overwhelming sadness of this book makes it very difficult to read. In addition, the writing style is one based on long paragraphs and long descriptions. That too makes the book difficult to read. I found myself reading steadily for a while, then skimming through a portion of the book, and then reading the ending. Even so, I was left with an overwhelming depressing feeling and a need to step away from the story.