This book makes you rethink the merit of your values; the manner in which we see fit to gain an inch in our favor, or take advantage of an opportunity; the flip side of the coin when we're doing what is seemingly in our best interest, and fail to see how our actions might affect other parties.
Kathy owns a house which she inherited (along with her brother) from her father upon his passing away. She lives there with her husband. They are both recovering drug addicts. At some point he leaves her. Through a mix-up, the bank moves forth on some unanswered tax fraud charges and evicts Kathy, only to auction off her house on the following day. These charges were unwarranted but Kathy, after initially responding with an affidavit stating their innocence in the claims, trashed all the correspondence from the bank that followed. Enter Behrani, an exiled Iranian Colonel who has toiled as a garbage collector and convenience store clerk since arriving in the U.S. after fleeing Iran during the Islamic Revolution. He has been seeking just this opportunity and manages to purchase Kathy's property for about a quarter of its legitimate price. From his point of view, this is his chance to quit his subhuman jobs and go back to the style of living he and his family grew accustomed to while working for the Shah in Iran.
The story grips you from the start. The manner in which events line up to create the worst of all possible outcomes for Kathy and a dream come true for Behrani does not defy logic. It is all far too plausible, and consequently that much more frightening. Things progress, judgments fail and the actions that follow exceed the parameters of acceptable behavior. Chaos ensues, and the results are far from pretty.
Dubus manages to skip around from one character to another, switching the narrating duties back and forth. Everybody's voice reads distinctive and real. It is an admirable work of literature.
I recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a good drama. It is a rewarding read.
Read from October 06 to 20, 2013