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.
I usually think Oprah's book club choices are boreing and tend to drag on, but I thought this book was a great read. It is a few different stories that tie together keeping it interesting and making you want to read more.
What an amazing, thrilling, gripping, shocking, truly tragic tale Andre Dubus III has written here. Even though from almost the beginning of the book, you know things will not turn out well, you cannot turn away from this story of four tragic adults and one innocent child caught up in lives of lies, need, loss, pride, and broken dreams. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
This was an amazing book. It was gritty and extremely depressing, but unbelievably well-written. The first 20 or 30 pages were very hard to get thru, so boring that I almost put it down, but I'm glad I stuck with it. This is definitely one that has made an impression.
This is simply an amazing book! One of the best of the thousands of books I've read over many, many years. BTW. if you live in Northern California (or are interested in it) it's a must read for you too. Set on the coast of No. CA near San Francisco.
From Oprah's bookclulb, and a National Book Award Finalist, House of Sand and Fog is one of my all time favorite reads. It is filled with suspense that is almost unbearable at times. The disconnected charachters become intertwined in such a crisis that escalates from chapter to chapter...it is hard to understand how their crisis can every be defused. I love books that focus on immigrant stories...making this one of my favorites.
An ending that will leave you amazed. Intense, touching and enlightening. A wonderful synopsis of life and those around us, including those who come to America to find freedom and perhaps find a lot less.
This book is so well written and evokes a tremendous amount of passion from the reader. The overlap of their characters and their joint "death spiral" in life draws you in. A real page turner and hey...not every story in life has a happy ending.
My favorite novel, no contest. I was so amazed by this book that I thought of it constantly for a least a month after finishing reading it. You will literally never forget this story, no matter what. While it can be depressing, it's real and it touches you at your core.
Beautiful and tragic...
Kathy Nicolo is a recovering addict whose husband has left her and who is making her way in the straight world with her own cleaning business. When her house in the California hills is mistakenly seized by the county for back taxes and sold at public auction, she finds herself living out of her car and on the brink of desperation. Once a wealthy and powerful man in Iran and a colonel in the army under the Shah's rule, Behrani is now a struggling immigrant who hopes that he can sell the house for a large profit, so that he can once again provide his family with a lifestyle like the one they enjoyed in Iran. Emotions take precedence over ethics, logic, love and the law as their paths collide in a surprising and tragic conclusion.
I saw the movie first and loved it. After several months, I saw the book for sale and picked it up. Like most novels, the book is better than the movie, but nothing from the book is really left out of the movie. The descriptions are far more vivid in the book and we receive more explanation to why the main characters are where they are in the world. Riveting and suspenseful, a tale of how good people wind up, unintentionally, in tragic circumstances, colliding head-on with others they encounter. The reader's empathy can easily switch from character to character, with each turning page.
A very thought-provoking read, with glimpses of cultural differences and gut-wrenching choices that often makes one wonder what one would do in similar situations.
This is a wonderful read, but have your box of tissues handy.... You are torn between the characters; you can easily see the "rightness" of each person. Who do you root for? You don't know, you can't decide, you feel for each of the characters, and wish you could fix their problems. But you can't.
Great story! Through the whole thing, I just wanted to yell at everyone to just stop... you could just watch both sides spinning out of control!. The author does a great job of building empathy for both sides of the conflict.
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.
Ever hear of sin being a slippery slope? This book is a perfect character study of the extremes normal people can go to when faced with life-changing situations. One bad decision leads to another...and another...and before you know it, you've done things you would never have believed your integrity would allow. I enjoyed this book very much. I would have preferred less graphic sex, but I've gotten good at skipping over that stuff. The story was wonderfully heart-wrenching. I'm a little disappointed at the ending, but I wouldn't let that stop me from reading it.
This books is a great reminder of why it is important for people in America to find a way to be educated at the college level, or at very least gain enough life experiences to convey enough patience, professionalism, maturity and wisdom to not impair ...more This books is a great reminder of why it is important for people in America to find a way to be educated at the college level, or at very least gain enough life experiences to convey enough patience, professionalism, maturity and wisdom to not impair the lives of others. I feel like it was also attempting to reveal a taste of what life might be like if government was not organized. How blame can get out of scope, and how a mistake can expand exponentially, until it explodes.
The annoying things about this book: #1-Sentence length. There were some unnecessarily long sentences. #2-Commercializing. I am pretty sure Coke/Coca Cola paid Dubus to write this book. #3-The ending. I felt like the last thirty pages could have been different in a large or small scale & the story would have not suffered. The story was fascinating and engrossing on its own, so for it to end so predictably was a letdown. To me, it was like putting explosions in an action movie. I think my generation is rarely shocked, so the attempt dates the book as much as someone who still might use a watch for a Rolodex. #4-Communication. This wasn't so much of an annoyance as it just was honest reporting on the times in which this book was written. The story would just not hold up these days. Modern people google things that confuse them and call their loved ones on cell phones when they can't find each other. I have to remember that even though a book like this is semi-modern, times have changed considerably. For one thing, the colonel would have likely gotten a cool mil for that house! My guess is that if there where horse and carriages & minimal government, the story would be easier to comprehend. #5-Sex. It was pointed out to me by another reviewer that sweaty uneven mustaches aren't a fantastically sexy thing to write about. Never mind the idea that wood will not burn if it is still green, Lester(Rhymes with Fester!) Burdon(probably not a mistake here either) was offensively pathetic. Hopefully reading about he and Kathy having sex was intended to make one squirm with disgust. That is the only way I can justify it's gratuity. It was lovely that they liked each other, and I really wanted everything to work out-but a name like that, sex scenes like those where obvious precursors to where this story might end.
I am sure there where a few more, but I am willing to look over them for what was a unique story.
I couldn't put this book down -- an amazing story of how seemingly random lives, cultures and events intersect and then suddenly become an out of control spiral. Sad, yes, but so well written. I had to take some breaks because it was intense -- but well worth the read.
I found this very depressing to the point I had to ask myself why I was even reading it. I kept thinking maybe I was missing the point as it is supposed to be such a popular book. I guess I never did get the point and yes I did finish the book, but it was time I now wish I had used for something else. The book on a whole just seemed like a waste of words on pages-why spend time reading something that left me so depressed. I won't do it again.
Wonderfully written story centering around a house - the woman from whom the county takes the house in error, the Iranian family who buys it, and the policeman who enforces the woman's eviction and becomes captivated by her. The characterizations are wonderful, the tension finely written and rushing towards a conclusion that seems ridiculous but inevitable. I found the book captivating.
[an Oprah Book Club Selection][From the back cover] 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 restore 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.
The book was beautifully written--however, I didn't find any of the characters very likable, which made it hard to feel for them when things went wrong. Surprisingly, I preferred the movie to the book, because I felt that the actors did a better job of conveying both the strengths and flaws of the characters.
In the riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people became dangerously entangeled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a welthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore 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. Sherriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice.
This story had me in tears at times, it also had me Mad!
Oprah's Book Club: In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, 3 fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. 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 3 converge in an explosive collision course.
From the publisher: "In riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people becom 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 restore 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."
This is a very well written book, although incredibly sad. I found that I had sympathy for both of the main characters, who are in opposition to each other. The portrayal of the characters left me with much to think about.
"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." amazon
This book was so beautifully written, so carefully constructed; if the reader is tempted to second guess why something happened, or someone behaved a certain way, the author has given you the information, already answered the question. It is a gradual, then accelerated decent to despair.
compelling story of three individuals entangled in property dispute over small house that means so much more to these folks than a simple matter of property , excellent read - Oprah's book club selection
I have not read this book but thought someone else might enjoy. From the back cover " In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis.....a struggling immigrant...a troubled young woman....a married man...drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hill..."