The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III is about a small bungalow on a hill. It was first the home of Kathy Nicolo, a recovering alcoholic who was on a fast downward spiral after her husband up and left her. Her actions make no sense because when you are on a depressed hole like she was, nothing really makes sense and it’s easy to understand how she could lose her house over a small amount of unpaid taxes. She is unceremoniously evicted from her house by a sympathetic police officer and she suddenly finds herself homeless, no place to sleep on but her car.
Across the bay, Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian army, struggles to maintain some semblance of his former status in Iran while holding menial jobs secretly. After accomplishing their family goal of a fortuitous marriage for his daughter, Behrani feels he can finally move on to secure a more stable future for his son and wife. The small house on the hill represents that hope.
This book was an interesting read because while the plot was simple, the characters are extremely complex. It explores the decisions and paths we take when we are being ruled by our emotions and dreams instead of common sense. This book is almost hard to read because you see through the motives of the two main characters and you can’t help but be sympathetic. You can see how they rationalize their decisions you can see how wrong they are and still, you can see how they really can’t help themselves. Their emotions are palpable. You can taste it. You can feel it.
If you need something to read during the winter break, I would highly recommend this book.