House of Sand and Fog- Andre Dubus III

This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Kathy is a young recovering alcoholic recently seperated from her husband. When her family home is repossessed she is devastated. Her house is sold at auction to Behrani, a former Iranian Air Force officer for whom it represents an entry into real estate and a passport to the future for his family and his own version of the American Dream. For Kathy, its loss is the last of a sereis of insults life has dealt her and the stage is set for a gut-wrenching tragedy.


This book was on my wishlist for years, then on my TBR pile for years, and now it’s been in my review queue for about a month, it’s almost as if the fates are against it. I read a review which finally made me take it off my TBR pile and start reading it. I can’t for the life of my remember where the review was, how I wish feedly had a search function! It’s the thing I most miss from google reader. Anyway, if it was you, I apologise, but if you let me know in comments I’ll add a link to it.

So almost a month after reading my overriding thoughts are about the characters. Maybe my reading is a bit character driven because I didn’t really like any characters enough for me to like the book.

My dislike for Lester is probably in fact what connected me most with the book. I couldn’t quite decide if he was just an idiot or was somehow naturally destructive. Loosing her house wasn’t the worst thing that happened to Kathy, meeting Lester was.

I had the most sympathy for Kathy as a character, everything seemed to go wrong for her, although I didn’t think she was completely clean of fault. Maybe she was just naive, but thins did seem to get worse because she didn’t see the big picture, and because she didn’t think things through carefully enough. I can see it as being somewhat a form of denial, if she avoids situations and decisions then how can anything be her fault? I felt sympathetic because she probably got the worst and least deserved problems through most of the book.

I also had some sympathy for Behrani. Really he was just trying to make something of his life. Choosing Kathy’s house to buy was bad luck really, and I can see why he felt he should get something out of it. He didn’t show much thought for others when it came down to it, but for him the house was more than a house. It was his only chance to make something of his life. He was too stubborn mainly, but I didn’t begrudge him.

In the end of things it was too much. The end was a surprise, but somewhat inevitable when you look at past reactions and experiences of the characters.


Buy it:

Paperback (£6.47)

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave a link it comments and I will add it here.


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Literary

4 responses to “House of Sand and Fog- Andre Dubus III

  1. I read this book many years back long before my book blogging days, and it was so, so sad. I just couldn’t get Kathy honestly and her obsession. She made things so much worse for herself.


  2. booketta

    I read this a few years ago for book group. I read it after seeing the film so I was able to visualise the actors in their roles.


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