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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Paperback – Illustrated, May 18, 2004
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From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
“Moving. . . . Think of The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher in the Rye and one of Oliver Sacks’s real-life stories.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"This is an amazing novel. An amazing book." —The Dallas Morning News
“A superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
“Brilliant. . . . Delightful. . . . Very moving, very plausible—and very funny.” —Oliver Sacks
“Superb. . . . Bits of wisdom fairly leap off the page.” —Newsday
“Disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect. . . . As suspenseful and harrowing as anything in Conan Doyle.” —Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review
“Extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny. . . . It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book.” —Financial Times, London
"Both clever and observant." —The Washington Post
“Full of whimsical surprises and tender humor.” —People
“[Haddon] illuminates a core of suffering through the narrowly focused insights of a boy who hasn’t the words to describe emotional pain.” —New York Daily News
"Outstanding. . . . A stunningly good read." —The Independent
“Engrossing . . . flawlessly imagined and deeply affecting.” —Time Out New York
“A remarkable book from a writer with very special talent.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“The Curious Incident is the rare book that repays reading twice in quick succession.” —Detroit Free Press
"Heart-in-the-mouth stuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero." —The Daily Telegraph
“This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy.” —The New Yorker
“Haddon’s book illuminates the way one mind works so precisely, so humanely, that it reads like both an acutely observed case study and an artful exploration of a different ‘mystery’: the thoughts and feeling we share even with those very different from us.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Mark Haddon’s portrayal of an emotionally disassociated mind is a superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
"A murder mystery, a road atlas, a postmodern canvas of modern sensory overload, a coming-of-age journal and lastly a really affecting look at the grainy inconsistency of parental and romantic love and its failures. . . . In this striking first novel, Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting." —The Washington Post
“Haddon’s gentle humor reminds us that facts don’t add up to a life, that we understand ourselves only through metaphor.” —Chicago Tribune
“Beautifully written. . . . Heart-in-the-mouth stuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers and for showing that the best lives are lived where difference is cherished.” —The Daily Telegraph
“A detective story with a difference. . . . [Haddon] has given his unlikely hero a convincing voice–and the detective novel an interesting twist.” —The Economist
"Think Huck Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, or the early chapters of David Copperfield." —Houston Chronicle
“A tale full of cheeky surprises and tender humor. . . . A touching evolution.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Funny, sad and totally convincing.” —Time
"More so than precursors like The Sound and the Fury and Flowers for Algernon, The Curious Incident is a radical experiment in empathy." —The Village Voice
“One of the strangest and most convincing characters in recent fiction.” —Slate
“I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon’s funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you won’t want to lend yours out.” —Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
“At once funny and achingly sad, this thought-provoking debut may leave us wondering if our worn coping skills are really any better than Christopher’s.” —The News and Observer
“Filled with humor and pain, [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time] verges on profundity.” —San Jose Mercury News
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brims with imagination, empathy, and vision–plus it’s a lot of fun to read.” —Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season
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I’d certainly not consider this a children’s book, although it was published in both categories, a fact curious in itself. It is called a mystery novel, although that, too, is strange, because the only mystery is not a scary mind teaser. It’s about a dog that was killed and who-dunnit. Christopher Boone, a 15-tear old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties”, narrates it. Indeed he is and does, being a genius with Asperger syndrome. That fact is never stated in the book, giving the reader a chance to hear Christopher’s description of his life and thoughts and to cogitate on the actions that take place and how they happen.
If one were to go through a thesaurus and select all the adjectives and adverbs that glorify, reviewers in their reviews would have used every one. I’m going to try to abstain from that because there are no modifiers left. But this book has earned them all. Haddon’s story is well told, innovative in its approach, and totally absorbing. I challenge anyone to read it and not be moved beyond words.
Christopher Boone finds a dog with a pitchfork through its innards. In his swirling mind of fears, likes and dislikes, trust and distrust, he knows he likes dogs but not people who kill them. It makes sense to him that he needs to find the murderer. Unfortunately most people disagree with him, including his father, but those displeasures mean nothing to him because he has a mission he intends to see through to the end. Unfortunately, the end is the beginning of new mind worms for him to deal with.
Haddon is clever in his writing, mixing simple thoughts with complex scientific and mathematical theory. Christopher can wend his way through this maze with ease, even if he becomes somewhat disoriented as he does so. Probably most readers will get lost in the technical details but the author surely knew that. It adds great authenticity to Christopher’s struggle for answers to the many questions and problems that plague him.
All I’ll tell you is that you must not fail to read this book. I don’t have the words to tell you how much you will enjoy the author’s talent and his story.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
This is a book written from the first-person point of view of a fifteen year old boy with autism and a very good understanding of facts and numbers (maths). He focuses and relies on the here and now, the real things of this world, and math problems. He doesn't like idioms, similes, metaphors, slang, or imagination. Facts are much more preferred, thank you. The book starts on the night that he finds Wellington skewered with a garden fork on Mrs. Shears front lawn, an event that he is later blamed and questioned about. He determines that he has to find out who murdered Wellington and the life that he thought he knew and was comfortable with swiftly begins to unravel. For a boy who doesn't understand human emotions a lot of events puzzle him and he has a hard time coping and understanding why some people do and choose the things that they do, it's not logical, even if it is human.
Mark Haddon does a remarkable job at capturing the mindset and ideas of an individual with autism and expressing it in a way readers can relate to. This book illustrates how some mindsets can be different. Where some individuals focus on feelings, others enjoy literature, and still others are focused on numbers and facts, things that are measurable and recordable, like Christopher. Sometimes different mindsets make certain things easy for individuals to understand while other topics and ideas are alien and something that makes ones' head spin. This is a tale of murder, mystery, a hidden past, and an unsure future of a boy who likes to deal in absolutes and certainties. But all it takes is one variable in the equation to change for the outcome be to a different world entirely.
Overall this book is really well-written and an interesting read. Highly recommended for those working with individuals with autism or other neo-neurological learning disabilities. Also a good read for those looking for different perspectives or books that make you question the writer/reporters point of view.
The autistic narrator is amazing. You can witness and sympathize with the pain and aggravation. Autism can break up a family. The love and despair demonstrated by the father and mother of the boy is very effective. The boy wants to be loved by cannot be touched!
It is a good read, it is never boring or tedious, and occasionally humorous. When Christopher finds the dead dog in the neighbor's yard, killed with a garden fork, he picks up the dog and holds it tenderly. This is the clue for the perfect ending.
Now that I am analyzing the recently read book, I have just changed my review to 5*s. Books are read and enjoyed; however, they should also be shared. Ideas and comments of fellow readers can enlighten, 'Wait a minute, I never thought of that! The author brought it all together and I just realized it."
The joys of reading!!!
Top international reviews
Firstly the plot is acceptable and somewhat interesting. It kept the kids interest but they weren't mesmerised like that have been in some other books, like Framed for example, which has a similar mystery aspect.
I don't know how realistic the portrayal of the autistic protagonist is. As its written in the first person it was a little grating to read something written in such a mechanical style and I'm not convinced an actual autistic person would have written in such a mechanical style.
However, what really let the book down for me, and I'm not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, is the constant use of expletives. I don't mind an appropriate swear in a book from an angry real-world character and the occasional f-word can be used to great effect in a comedic setting (I watch Taskmaster with my eldest daughter, for example, and they swear in that) but this book is littered with swearing that just seems to be there to be 'cool'. Almost every character the protagonist interacts with seems to tell him to 'f*** off' and there's even a use of c***, which was totally unnecessary.
So I can't really recommend this book, for children, teens or young adults. It's an average plot with irritating writing style and lack of any real emotional hook. If you want something good with a similar mystery element, pick up Framed or Holes.
The description of the crime in the beginning was graphic and violent which I imagine a lot of people, especially young readers, would find shocking and unpleasant. There were also a couple of references of sex and swearing. For this reason I have waited until my children were older to read it, so I read it myself!
The story itself is captivating and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
I don't know the author's background, but the way in which the book is written, along with its layout, demonstrates a great insight into the Autistic Spectrum. Because of this, the author does a convincing job of portraying the first-person perspective of his autistic character, Christopher, as he sets out to solve the murder of his neighbour's Spaniel (called Wellington).
The book moves along at a great pace--with both narrative and data. The plot of the story unfolds over every alternate chapter, with the interluding chapters giving room for Christopher to explain life as he experiences and copes with it. But all of this is done in a exceptional way which maintains the emotional pull of the reader.
As a parent of a Aspergers child, there was a lot that I could relate to in this story (and a lot that I couldn't, too).
Excellent book, and highly recommended. (I'm really surprised no one has tried doing a TV show of it yet!)
---Tristan Sherwin, author of *Love: Expressed*
The story revolves around a dog who has been killed during the night and the boy with AS who tries to find the killer and deal with the consequences when he finds him.
I enjoyed reading it and it was well worthwhile, and the character development is very good with me really getting into the character of Christopher and he somewhat reminds me of myself in some aspects which was a first which was very nice as well. So to conclude I gave it 5 out of 5 stars for being a delightful read and I would recommend reading this book.
Some previous reviews have complained that "This is not like my son with ASD" and have therefore described it as being not well observed. My son also has ASD and I work with students with ASD, and I noticed a lot of very well observed behaviours and traits. The main thing with ASD is that every child's ASD will manifest differently so you will never get a character in a book who is like every child with ASD - we can't generalise.
Overall I thought this was an excellent book and I would recommend it to adults and older children (10+)
I guess some could say this is reflective of Christopher's writing and I am happy to be proved wrong if this is so.
The story was good, but not mind blowingly good as what I was expecting.
4 years later and I finally got around to reading it. I wish I had earlier! The language is easy to follow and I was chuckling in a few places but most of all the author has managed to capture how difficult it is for an autistic child to face everyday challenges.
The best quote from this book was on the last page "I wrote a book and that means I can do anything." And it's as simple as that!
I loved every page and now my 9 year old is starting to read it after reading a few pages over my shoulder he was hooked and desperate for me to finish so he can start it.
Thank you for giving me this wonderful book