House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III was an Oprah Book Club pick from many years ago. Seriously. I looked it up, and this book was selected in November 2000! Oprah.com even went so far as to name it one of the most addictive books of the last 25 years. Both my sister and my mom raved over the book, telling me how wonderful it was. I had gotten it on the clearance wall at 2nd & Charles, so I thought I would give it a shot.
I’ll preface this review with the fact that I had just finished The Couple Next Door before I started this book. The cover claimed that it’s “a page-turner with a beating heart”, so I thought it would be perfect to continue my streak of wonderful books.
I thought the book was a lot of exposition. I felt that there was too much time building up stories, and not nearly enough in the meat of the story. At one point, the point of view switches primarily to that of Lester Burdon. There were multiple times where his POV was one paragraph over the course of many pages. It was all just stream of consciousness too. There was an inner monologue about his inner rage that was never really discovered, only avoided (somewhat successfully).
This book contained suicide attempts, infidelity, alcohol abuse, stories of drug abuse…there was a lot. Was it all necessary? Probably not. Could Lester have been an unmarried cop that happened to take pity on a woman being evicted? Yes. Could Lester have not tempted Kathy in her effort of sobriety? Yes. Man, thinking back on it, he’s a terrible person.
To The Library!
This is not a book I’ll return to at a later date. It was wonderfully written. Truly a masterpiece at its most base level. Was the story engaging or a “page-turner”? Not really. I had to fight through this one a good bit. I wasn’t reading chapters at a time, only pages. House of Sand and Fog has not joined the stack of books I’m going to try to make some money off of, so Andre Dubus III should count that as a victory.
P.S. I’m thinking about making some ‘Adventures In Reading’ stickers or buttons…who is interested?
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