Monday, March 08, 2004

Not for the Depressed

I finally finished The House of Sand and Fog by Andres Dubus III last week. It was a book full of contrasts.

First I have to say if you do not like sad and depressing books, steer clear of this one.

I liked the book overall. I thought the story was interesting and the writing fairly good. The story is about a woman whose husband left her which leaves her is the midst of depression and despair and an Iranian Colonel who had to flee his country and is trying to make a new life for his family. Their paths cross when she loses her house because of a mistake in the county's tax office (she also neglected to open the mail to look at all the notices that told her she was losing the house) and the colornel buys it out from under her at an auction for a steal of a price. He wants to sell the home for full price so he can make some more money to help set up a business to support his family.

I noticed other reviewers said that there is no way she could have lost her home this way so it made it too unlikely the story. I let that part go and focused on the characters more.

The spiral downwards happens when the woman is helped by a local police officer who was there as part of the eviction team stays and helps her move. This man is in a bad marriage and they become lovers and advocate in getting the house back. In the mean time the Colonel is gets mixed up in the scheme soon and the whole things spirals out of control, more than I thought it would.

On the upside, I enjoyed seeing the story from the different perspectives, usually from the Colonel and then from the woman. We saw the pain from both of them. I especially enjoyed the Colonel.

On the downside, sometimes I thought the book rambled and some was really only filler. Also, the book can be tedious. It is not easy to read and didn't flow great at times so you can't stick with it for a long sit and read session. Also, I thought the ending was a little confusing. In fact I missed an important part completely and had to skim back over it. Infact I still am missing a key part of the ending that I just don't see.

I know they recently released this book as a movie. I would like to see it being that Ben Kinsley (Gandhi) stars as the Colonel and I appreciate is work. But I think some time will have to go by first. It's a little too unsettling to both read and watch that movie too close together.

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