It is rare in contemporary literature to read a book in which the characters are naturally allowed to make the decisions that propel the plot forward. So often the people in novels are at the mercy of the story --- mere puppets of clever plot twists or of writers who want to showcase their ability to wring every possible bit of suspense from a situation. Andre Dubus's 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 cunning of the author who created them. It is a masterpiece in the dying art of character development.
Dubus takes his time introducing us to these flawed, human 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