Monday, July 12, 2004

House of Sand and Fog

For summer school I had to read Andre Dubus III's House of Sand of Fog. Overall I thought the book was well written, and I didn't mind the change of narrators, but the characters weren't likeable. Kathy Nicolo is evicted from her house by the county because she neglected to pay a business tax. Her husband left her several months ago, she has a meager income as a house cleaner, and she's struggling with an addiction.

The next day her house is sold to Colonel Massoud Behrani and his family for 45 grand at an auction. Behrani is an Iranian immigrant who was part of the overthrown Shah's army. After squandering money on furniture, clothing, and a "pooldar" apartment, he realized that without a good source of income he couldn't afford to live his lavish lifestyle. After spending the last of his savings on Kathy's house, he learns that he can sell the property for four times its worth.

The problem is that Kathy was evicted from her house by accident and she has no where to live. Infuriated by this news she bothers the Behranis about her situation and starts to drink. Behrani conceals this information from his family and further upsets Kathy. Also, the deputy sheriff that evicts Kathy becomes obsessed with her despite having a family and stable job.

It's a pretty interesting read and hard to put down, but by the end of the book you don't like any of the characters. They all make a series of poor decisions and in the end pay for their actions. You wouldn't want to be friends with these people because it could be a dire mistake. It's a modern Greek tragedy and I'd recommend it if you don't like people and don't want to.