The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Hardcover – Jun 24 2003
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Mark Haddon's bitterly funny first novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Christopher John Francis Boone is a 15-year-old boy, mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behaviour of his elders and peers.
Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbour's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbours--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Haddon's novel is a startling performance. This is the sort of book that could turn condescending, or exploitative, or overly sentimental, or grossly tasteless very easily, but Haddon navigates those dangers with a sureness of touch that is extremely rare among first-time novelists. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is original, clever, and genuinely moving: this one is a must-read. --Jack Illingworth
From Publishers Weekly
Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't know if I'll ever write a book with an autistic character, but thanks to Mr. Haddon, I feel like it's already been done for me.
Christopher begins to write the book to solve the mystery of the murder of Wellington, a neighbor's dog, like his hero Sherlock Holmes. Along the way, we learn about his family situation, his view of the world, his idiosyncrasies, and his school life. He's not exactly an unreliable narrator, but the author does an excellent job of imagining the problems involved when the storyteller has autism and the story is consistent with this perspective.
While not a perfect book, I would recommend this highly, especially to people who want a fresh and different reading experience. It's not at all preachy, and it deals with a little understood disability with honesty; this reader came away from the book with a new understanding of the difficulties of dealing with autism. It is well worth your time to pick this one up.
Christopher lives with his father in Swindon England. His mother has been dead for two years though he can still remember her. Christopher has a difficult life, but his father is trying to keep things together as much as he can. What Christopher doesn't know, however, is that his life is about to change drastically.
"It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs. Shears' house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog."
Christopher is able to relate better to animals than to people. As he holds Ms. Shears` dog in his arms, Christopher makes the decision to investigate what happened to the dog. He begins to write a book, the book we are holding. "This is a murder mystery novel," he says, though it is certainly not a conventional one. What Christopher finds out, however, may be more than he can handle.
This book is absolutely incredible. I was able to finish it in two days and I wished there was more. Not only is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" one of the most wonderful books I have ever read, it is also one of the most creative. The entire narrative is told in Christopher's voice and follows his thought patterns. There are math puzzles riddled through out, information about space and stories about Sherlock Holmes.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I have no idea how the cover of the book looked but the one I got was backwards. The authors face was on the front cover and the dog was cut out at the back cutting through the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not a particularly gripping read. Gave me some insight into the world of the challengedPublished 3 months ago by Carolyn Vroom