One of my favorite authors is coming to campus: Andre Dubus III, mastermind behind House of Sand and Fog.
When I found out he’d be in town, I said to myself that I hadn’t been this excited since fourth grade, when Picachu evolved into Raichu for the first time. This particular novel was a New York Times bestseller, a National Book Award finalist and—wait for it, it’s intense—an Oprah Book Club selection.
The eponymous movie also garnered quite a bit of attention, as well as 3 Oscar nominations. But let’s not go into Ben Kingsley and DreamWorks SKG. It is the flesh of the novel’s pages and the blood of its beautifully embroidered drama that matters.
The story is bi-fold: it tangos back and forth between the perspective of Kathy Nicolo, a recovering divorcee who is losing her house to the inclement government (yes, taxes tax even those among us lucky enough to have been wrought by Dubus’ imagination), and Massoud Behrani, a Persian immigrant who is buying the house from the government in the hopes of giving his family a morsel of their once dignified lifestyle.
Far beyond realty disputes, however, the narration delves so deeply into the bruised lives and minds of Kathy and Massoud that the reader can’t help but develop an attachment to both of them; until you, the reader, realize that you cannot love both their fates at the same time. One’s path grinds against the other’s. Dare I say Kathy is fog and Massoud is sand?
Just like when you were watching Crash, or The Titanic, you know in your heart of hearts that this story probably won’t turn out well for everyone. And down goes Jack…The book is steeped in bitterness, reminiscence, the putrid smell of things lost, desperation disguised as racism and, just to really keep your attention, furtive sex.
More about Dubus’ visit is revealed on this CAS Literature webpage, http://www.american.edu/cas/literature/news/visiting.cfm, which gives info on the whole host of writers visiting AU in the upcoming months. This site is where I found out that the handsome Mr Dubus,
is a quasi-ringer for Harrison Ford.
Successfully added to Dubus' look is the furrowed brow of writers beleaguered by their plot-twisting brilliance. Do you see it? I know I do.