House of Sand and Fog: A Novel: A Novel

W. W. Norton & Company
65
Free sample

The National Book Award finalist, Oprah’s Book Club pick, #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Oscar-nominated motion picture

A recent immigrant from the Middle East—a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force—yearns to restore his family’s dignity in California. A recovering alcoholic and addict down on her luck struggles to hold onto the one thing she has left?her home. And her lover, a married cop, is driven to extremes to win her love.

Andre Dubus III’s unforgettable characters—people with ordinary flaws, looking for a small piece of ground to stand on—careen toward inevitable conflict. Their tragedy paints a shockingly true picture of the country we live in today.

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About the author

Andre Dubus III is the author of Gone So Long, Dirty Love, The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a #1 New York Times bestseller, Oprah’s Book Club pick, and finalist for the National Book Award), and Townie, winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His writing has received many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his family north of Boston.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Mar 31, 2011
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780393070354
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Islands of Divine Music is a novel of five generations of an Italian-American family finding its place in the New World. Against a backdrop of Immigration, Prohibition, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the new millennium, five generations of the Verbicaro family make their way from Southern Italy to San Francisco as each character brushes up against some aspect of the divine.

The family matriarch is Rosari, a little girl whose family flees Italy because her prodigality is exploited by illiterate kidnappers. After her beautiful, psychotic mother’s suicide, the girl and her despondent father come to San Francisco, where she meets the man she’ll marry, a handsome, fiercely strong peasant named Giuseppe Verbicaro. The twelve linked stories of The Islands of Divine Music are portraits of family members whose lives are interwoven in one narrative that spans 100 years.

Rosari and Giuseppe’s oldest son, Narciso, a handsome and dim-witted dandy, barely evades death and the stain of organized crime by his simple-minded innocence and luck, while his passionate brother Ludovico, a talented third baseman in the old San Francisco minor leagues, falls prey to the illicit dreams of a wise guy from the Gambino family. His scheme to smuggle Cuban cigars to the San Francisco Bay nearly ends in drowning but leads to a kind of salvation.

Their youngest brother, Joe, a brilliant child and shrewd businessman, is ashamed of his ethnicity and, in particular, his father. This is due in part to the fact that Giuseppe, wandering North Beach, believes that God directs him to marry a teen-aged, pregnant Mexican prostitute named Maria. Further senility, faith, or vermouth convinces the old man that Maria’s child, Jesus, is the product of an immaculate conception. The event is both a family disgrace and a bizarre blessing. The child’s life and tragic death come to have a profound effect on Giuseppe’s progeny, particularly Joe’s children: Penelope, who flees the country following involvement in deadly anti-Vietnam War activities, and her brothers Paulie and Angelo, who are inspired by the young Jesus to embark upon a quest of several thousand miles to recover the family’s lost and most prized spiritual treasures.
I, Letticia ChiChi Maggiordino, will put to GOOD use the power of the Evil Eye...

ChiChi Maggiordino will do anything to get God's attention. She will hold her breath, stand on tiptoe for an hour, walk a mile backward, climb all stairs on her knees... anything. When her grandmother teaches her how to use the Evil Eye, telling her it's how Jesus Christ made his miracles and how the Italians got rid of Mussolini, ChiChi realizes it's what her prayers have been missing. Now she can get started on the business of making her mother happier by helping her find love, and healing her brother's weak lungs.

But ChiChi's family lives in Minneapolis, and it's the 1950s. For an Italian immigrant family, sometimes it seems like nothing can make life easier. ChiChi's mother still pines for her husband, a long-dead American soldier; ChiChi's brother is disdainful of her sacrifices and penance-he doesn't understand what his older sister already knows, that sometimes God needs to be bribed.

When her grandmother passes away, ChiChi steps up her search for meaning and happiness, but it seems to be fruitless. And she struggles, the way so many women do, because her love for her family is suffocating, even while it fulfills her.

It's not until she meets two Italian dwarves, and they teach her of the ancient clown tradition, the commedia dell'arte, that she comes to understand that in order to make everyone else happy, she herself must be happy.

But first she must find her own way in the world... and learn to accept that not even the power of the Evil Eye can keep people from changing.



At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

“A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain.”—The New York Times Book Review

Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.

Praise for Galápagos

“The best Vonnegut novel yet!”—John Irving

“Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading.”—USA Today

“A satire in the classic tradition . . . a dark vision, a heartfelt warning.”—The Detroit Free Press
 
“Interesting, engaging, sad and yet very funny . . . Vonnegut is still in top form. If he has no prescription for alleviating the pain of the human condition, at least he is a first-rate diagnostician.”—Susan Isaacs, Newsday
 
“Dark . . . original and funny.”—People
 
“A triumph of style, originality and warped yet consistent logic . . . a condensation, an evolution of Vonnegut’s entire career, including all the issues and questions he has pursued relentlessly for four decades.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Wild details, wry humor, outrageous characters . . . Galápagos is a comic lament, a sadly ironic vison.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“A work of high comedy, sadness and imagination.”—The Denver Post
 
“Wacky wit and irreverent imagination .  . . and the full range of technical innovations have made [Vonnegut] America’s preeminent experimental novelist.”—The Minneapolis Star and Tribune
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