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Word Count: 437
It is rare in literature to read a book in which the characters are naturally allowed to make the decisions that drive the plot forward Often the people in novels are at the mercy of the story --- mere dummys of clever plot twists or of writers who want to showcase their ability to wring every possible bit of suspense from a situation Andre Dubuss second novel HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG is a throwback to a time when writing was more important than plot and the characters mattered more than the cunningness of the author who created them Dubus takes his time introducing us to these flawed characters He brings them into sharp focus with astonishing depth and perception revealing them as the story unfolds We first meet Massoud Behrani a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force who has fled his native land Unable to find an adequate job in the States Behrani jumps on the economic opportunity that is presented when he discovers a house up for sale at a sheriffs auction His plan is to live in the house only long enough to sell it at a high profit A reserved and dignified man his fatal flaw is his high need for respectability and his inability to see beyond what he thinks he deserves Next were introduced to Kathy Nicolo a recovering alcoholic and drug addict Living under the fog of depression after her husband leaves her she is merely going through the motions When she is sent a tax bill by the county she virtually ignores it knowing that it has been sent in error Eventually she is evicted from her house which is sold at auction almost before she has a chance to take action Her inability to make good choices for herself proves her undoing Finally Lester Burdon enters the picture Hotheaded and
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