“Houseof Sand and Fog” Andre Dubus III

Published in 1999 by Vintage Contemporaries, this realistic suspense novel was one of my most recent finds at a thrift store. It is an Oprah’s Book Club selection and a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction. This book is well worth the read.
The main storyline is about a wealthy Persian family, the Behranis, that relocates after the fall of the Shah to America. Reduced in circumstances, Colonel Behrani takes a chance and buys a house for sale at a county auction. He envisions selling the house for a profit and starting on his way to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the owner of the house has other ideas about giving up the property without a fight. Kathy Nicolo is a house cleaner, recovering addict and an abandoned wife. She sees the house as her last vestige of stability. A chance meeting with a sheriff brings things into a whirling vortex that will have you staying up late to finish the book.

What I enjoyed most was the description of the harshness of assimilation in a new country, the dynamics of the Behranis and the noir ending of it all. None of the main characters are loveable, but they are human to the last line.


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