Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: House of Sand and Fog

Blogging friends, not sure how to check for plagiarism? I use Grammarly because copy-cats are lame. Just ask Zelda Fitzgerald, who is quoted as saying: "Mr. Fitzgerald, I believe that is how he spells his name, seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home."

___________________________________________

My extended family recently congregated at my brother’s beach house. They have a bookshelf that’s evolved into a book exchange and since I'd just finished Jodi Picoult’s Mercy, I left it there in exchange for Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog. The book cover didn’t necessarily entice me but it had street cred; it was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and #1 on the NYT bestseller list (it was also an Oprah's Book Club pick in 2000 but I don’t always see eye-to-eye with O.) so I decided to give it a try.

Overview
The book starts by introducing a once-respected former colonel by the name of Massoud Behrani. The colonel and his family have been exiled from Iran after the Iranian Revolution. He has not been able to establish a career in America so he works long hours at menial jobs to keep up appearances.

In the next chapter, we learn about Kathy Nicolo, a recovering addict, who is being evicted from her bungalow in the California hills—a home long owned by her family—because of a county bookkeeping mistake.

Their paths cross when Kathy’s house is put on auction and Behrani spends his life savings to purchase the house at a fraction of its worth. He views the opportunity as fortune smiling on him, and plans to flip the house as a means of establishing himself as a successful real estate investor/business man.

A third character, Police Deputy Lester Burdon, comes to Kathy’s house to evict her. Although Burdon is married with two young children, he and Kathy become romantically involved.
The forth main character in the book is the house itself. In fact, the entire plot circles around the bungalow. The characters get so caught up in their quest for owning the house that they lose sight of themselves, resulting in a set of circumstances that go horribly wrong.

The book is written in the first person, switching between several of the main characters. The use of a first person POV gives the reader a clear picture of what each character is going through on a mental and emotional level.

Cultural misunderstandings as well as exploring the married relationship between the Behranis and the desperate relationship between Kathy and Lester keep this book moving forward.

The Good
At first, it seemed obvious who the protagonist and who the antagonist were but as the book continued, the lines blurred. Dubus has a gift for presenting two completely different viewpoints; he transitions from chapter to chapter skillfully using precise language for each character, and lets the reader decide for himself. Sometimes I was seduced into an empathetic attraction to one character and a disgusting revulsion to another and then the tables turned and so did my sympathies. The author created a believable, involved psychological portrait of his main characters, shining a light on their gifts as well as their flaws.

The Bad
Oh the poor, pitiful ending. Listen, as a fiction writer I know how difficult it is to bring everything to a satisfying end but to call this ending unsatisfying is giving it far too much credit. I had a hard time accepting that this was the best Andre Dubus III could do.

A movie was made from the book, starring Ben Kingsly as Behrani and Jennifer Connelly as Kathy. Good casting choices, but I haven't seen the movie and I'm not sure I will. The story is dark and left me with a feeling of hopelessness.

Have you read House of Sand and Fog? I'd love to hear other opinions.  
Photobucket

36 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be working with?
    I'm experiencing some small security issues with my
    latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free.
    Do you have any recommendations?

    Feel free to visit my website :: hackear facebook

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice post, thanks so much for this sharing!

    ReplyDelete

  4. شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة و عمال مروبون وحاصلون على شهادة صحية فقط اتصل بنا لتحصل على افضل خدمة غسيل خزانات


    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice Blog, thank you so much for sharing such an amazing information with us.
    Top 5 Website Designing Company in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice and interesting post,I appreciate your hard work,keep uploading more, Thank you for sharing valuable information.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing valuable Information, I really very impressive on your blog. I hope you continue on blogging job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome blog, thanks for sharing with us. Dial Web India is one of the best Website Designing and Development Company in Delhi, India.
    Website Designing Company in India

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice blog, thanks for sharing with us. Gribety Detective India is one of the best Detective agencies in Jaipur.
    Detective Agency in Jaipur

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice blog, thanks for sharing with us. Visit Sarswati Enterprises for the best Bottle Caps Making Machinery and Power Press Manufacturer in Delhi.
    Bottle Caps Making Machinery

    ReplyDelete
  11. Put more informative things on this blog page, and thanks for sharing this. Visit Noble IVF for best Fertility treatment in Aligarh, India.
    IVF Centre in Aligarh

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post. Thanks for posting Really Such Things. I should recommend your site to my friends. If you are interested for CRM Software visit here:- CRM Software in Mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great article.9th Doctor Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  14. This blog was very nicely formatted; it maintained a flow from the first word to the last.
    Kevin Hart The Man from Toronto Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  15. Evermore Technologies let businesses avail greater lead generation and higher conversions with its technical expertise. Evermore also provides Website Designing and Development Company in Noida for better online visibility and brand perception.
    Website Designing Company in Noida

    ReplyDelete
  16. Cara termudah untuk memperoleh kemenangan pada permainan Pragmatic Play dengan lebih mudah yakni dengan menggunakan Sistem Hack Slot Pragmatic Play. Dengan Aplikasi Hack ini maka peluang meraih kemenangan akan lebih tinggi. Serta keuntungan akan lebih besar diperoleh, maka dari itu pastikan peroleh Apk Hacknya yang tersedia di APKMods.

    Hack Slot Games Online
    Sistem Hack Judi Slot Online
    Cara Mudah Menang Pragmatic Play
    Download Hack Slot Pragmatic

    apkmods, apkhack, apkcheat, hackpoker, hackcasino, hackslot, hackdomino, cheatpoker, cheatcasino, cheatslot, cheatdomino, downloadapk, downloadmods, downloadhack, downloadcheat,

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your blog post is fantastic; scanners can like to read your post. So get in grips to grasp additional regarding the technological perspective with the putative mobile app development company. Also visit: top mobile app development company

    ReplyDelete
  18. A person necessarily assist to make seriously articles I’d state.
    That is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far?

    my web page;부산달리기

    ReplyDelete
  19. Our the purpose is to share the reviews about the latest Jackets,Coats and Vests also share the related Movies,Gaming, Casual,Faux Leather and Leather materials available Supreme Team Varsity Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  20. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post actually made my day.
    You cann at imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!부산오피

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi , Thank you so much for writing such an informational blog. If you are Searching for latest Jackets, Coats and Vests, for more info click on given link-Terminator Punk Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  22. Good morning! This piece could not be more well-written! Reading this post brings back memories of my previous flatmate! He continued to talk about it in general. I'll send him this review first. He'll almost certainly have a good read. Thank you very much for sharing! Men Motorcycle jacket

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for any other excellent post. Where else may just anyone get that type of info in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such information.Our new website has been launched and we are offering some exciting prices. Check it out now.
    rjackets

    ReplyDelete
  24. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much.
    인터넷경마

    magosucowep

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for sharing This is really inspiring and I love to read more about this. 파워볼

    ReplyDelete
  26. This site is a great stepping stone for any player that is just getting started with online gambling. 온라인경마

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nice post. Thank you to provide us this useful information. donovan mitchell jacket

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me.