Thursday, July 06, 2006
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time *****
Amazon.com says: Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless (diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome), 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 behavior of his elders and peers.
Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor'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 neighbors--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, Amazon.ca --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I say: If there’s one book you read this year, make it this one! I found it strange to get into at first, almost like you’re reading a doctor’s report on someone, but once I understood it, I couldn’t help but lose myself in the story. The Curious Incident shows us how weird it is to be us, “normal”, when you look at our behavior through the eyes of someone who everyone else would consider to be “weird”.