Andre Dubus III
National Book Award Finalist
Oprah’s Book Club® Selection
Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani was once a powerful and respected officer in the Shah of Iran’s air force. Having fled the country with his family, he works by day spearing trash on California highways and by night as a clerk in a convenience store while deceiving his family into believing that he has a loftier job. Now, willing to risk the modest remainder of his fortune to restore his family’s dignity, he buys a small house at a county auction, planning to sell it again for three or four times what he paid. But the house has been auctioned because of a bureaucratic error, and Behrani’s fragile plans are jeopardized when Kathy Nicolo, the owner of the house, begins to protest the sale. A recovering alcoholic and addict, Kathy is desperate to regain her only tie to stability— her home. In doing so, she enlists the help of Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who has fallen precipitously in love with her. As Kathy and Lester become obsessed with seeking justice by whatever means possible, the three characters converge on an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.
“Elegant and powerful. . . an unusual and volatile. . . literary thriller.” —The Washington Post Book World
Before finding his calling as a writer, Andre Dubus III worked for brief stints as a bounty hunter, private investigator, carpenter, bartender, actor, and teacher. His first book, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, was published in 1989, followed in 1993 by his first novel, Bluesman. For the next few years, he taught and did odd jobs as a carpenter while working on House of Sand and Fog. Much of the book was written in his car, which he often parked at a local cemetery in search of quiet and solitude. His characters were inspired by two people whose predicaments had stuck in his mind for years: a woman he read about in the newspaper who was wrongly evicted from her house and forced to live in her car, and a college friend's father, who had been a colonel in the Iranian air force and could only find menial jobs after fleeing to the United States.
Dubus's work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and the 1985 National Magazine Award for Fiction. It has also been cited in The One Hundred Most Distinguished Stories of 1993 and The Best American Short Stories of 1994. He was one of three finalists for the 1994 Prix de Rome given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction.
Andre Dubus III is the son of Andre Dubus, a widely recognized master of short fiction who died in 1999. He teaches in Emerson College's MFA in writing program, and at Tufts University. He lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with his wife, dancer/choreographer Fontaine Dollas, and their three children.