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House of Sand and Fog
House of Sand and Fog
Author: Andre Dubus III
Oprah's Book Club, November 2000 Selection! Tense with suspense from the first line, this is one of the great American realist novels. In this page-turning, breathtaking novel, the characters will walk off the page and into your life. And a small house will seem like the most important piece of territory in the world. On a road crew in C...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780393046977
ISBN-10: 0393046974
Publication Date: 2/1/1999
Pages: 365
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 76 ratings
Publisher: W. W. Norton Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed House of Sand and Fog on
Helpful Score: 10
I don't care if Oprah liked this book; I detested it. I've never encountered a weaker heroine. I wanted to slap her at every page.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on
Helpful Score: 9
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.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I can't remember the last time I read such an explosive, unnerving story. House of Sand and Fog is everything a dramatic, suspenseful, culture-clash novel should be. I was intrigued and frightened, my emotions going through the wringer a countless number of times. My loyalties went from one character to another then back again through the course of the novel, never really deciding who to love or who to trust. A dark, drastic tragedy of a drama that unfolds in the most terrifying way.
Through an administrative error of the County Tax Department, Kathy Nicolo's house is seized out from under her. On top of this, her husband has left her and she has no one to turn to. Forced to live in her car and rented motel rooms, Kathy befriends one of the Sheriffs that came to evict her. Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon finds himself in love and completely infatuated with helping Kathy get her house back. Meanwhile, Iranian immigrant Colonel Massoud Behrani is desperate to pursue his version of the American Dream: to acquire the dignity, status and respect he once entertained as Officer in the King's Airforce in his native country and to provide for his family and secure a healthy future for them. His desires come in the form of a house, an investment opportunity recently seized and up for auction at an unheard of low price. These two incidents run parallel courses that eventually collide into an explosive downward spiral.

Andre Dubus has written an electrifying, hair-standing-on-end, riveting book that only builds more tense as readers turn its pages. A fascinating and thought-provoking novel that shows how one simple thing can escalate into something huge and horrible through others irresponsibility and stubbornness. Reading parts of this book was akin to a dreamworld, a fog if you will, that will send readers into a panic, struggling for air. The writing evokes many opinions and emotions and will undoubtedly inspire numerous heated discussions. Masterfully told with poetically bold language that breathe with life. Awesome.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
One of the finest and best written, evocative books I've read. The story will stay with you....forever. However, the book is a downer. Tragic, but superb storytelling.
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Susanaque avatar reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 422 more book reviews
...Elegant and powerful....and unusual and volatile literary thriller
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 53 more book reviews
Personally, I liked this book.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 42 more book reviews
Three people become entangled in a struggle for the same house. The troubled woman refuses to let go. The sheriff falls in love with her and becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice. The immigrant is willing to do everything he can to obtain the house and they are doomed by their inability to understand each other which puts them on a collision course.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 354 more book reviews
A book I read a while ago but forgot and ordered it again. A story about an Iranian military man that flees Iran and settles in the SF Bay Area but has to work low jobs. Starts to run out of money, and buys a house at a auction for taxs. Goes from there. The woman that owned the house fights the sale, a murder is involved, and on it goes. Good book
njmom3 avatar reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 1370 more book reviews
Review first published on my blog:

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.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 2 more book reviews
This book kept my attention somewhat, but wasn't something that I wasn't able to put down.
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on + 44 more book reviews
reviewed House of Sand and Fog on
Loved the writing, a really tremendous read. Felt myself sympathizing with all the characters, seeing the story from both sides. But HATED the ending!! (I know life doesn't always have happy endings, but certainly could have been wrapped up much more pleasantly than it was!)