When the leaves change colour and darkness comes earlier, you know that fall is here and winter isn’t far behind.
Time to read a dark, brooding novel like “The House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III.
The members of the library book club read this work of fiction and met on Saturday, Oct. 17, the first official book club in our new space.
We gathered in the Community Room, a perfect spot to settle in with a cup of coffee and a muffin while looking forward to a lively discussion of Dubus’s novel, published in 1999.
Told from the point of view of the two main characters, the author immediately puts you into their headspace. These are people that come from very different cultures, but find themselves struggling over the same thing.
To maintain ownership of a house they both believe legally belongs to them.
Kathy, a recovering alcoholic, was evicted from her home for failure to pay back taxes.
Her house is sold at a county auction to a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force, Mr. Behrani.
After a clerical error is discovered, Kathy begins a fight to reclaim her home, but Behrani will not let go of his American dream.
This is the premise of the novel, and the way Dubus tells it is riveting.
We get to go into the depths of the worst types of human behaviour, from both sides of the story.
The author has us rooting for each of them, and then instantly cringing at what happens next.
It all builds up to the tragic and unexpected ending, one that you can’t see coming, but leaves you heartbroken.
The House of Sand and Fog is a tale that is woven by a master writer.
He got the original idea for the story from reading a newspaper article, and that was enough to spark his curiosity.
His characters were based on truth, but he imagined them acting in less than reasonable ways.
Dubus has said, “It’s so easy to misbehave in this world, it’s harder to do the right thing.”
Reading this book will definitely leave you wondering who was right or wrong, or if it even mattered.
If you would like to read The House of Sand and Fog, please make a request at the Summerland Library. If there is a bit of a wait list, I might suggest a couple of read-a- likes such as NW” by Zadie Smith; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
Join us for the next book club meeting, Saturday, Nov. 21 at 11 a.m.
The November selection is Await your Reply by Dan Chaon.
Caroline McKay is the Assistant Community Librarian for the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.