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A Spot of Bother: A Novel

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A Spot of Bother: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780385520515
ISBN10: 0385520514
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $7.50!

 

Staff Pick

A second novel as good as the first. The follow-up to A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is hilarious, dark, and entirely human. A Spot of Bother is the story of the highly dysfunctional Hall family: George, recently retired and going a bit crazy; his wife, Jean, none too attentive to George's troubles; their son, Jamie, who is having trouble deciding how or if he can commit to his boyfriend; and their daughter, Katie, a single mother getting ready to marry a man no one's too keen on. Haddon, to me, is a storyteller along the lines of John Irving or Nick Hornby. The premise and the goings-on can be fairly far-fetched, but I always end up caring for the characters and being drawn into the story.
Recommended by Brodie, Powells.com

A Spot of Bother is an adroit and highly accomplished comedy of manners, which while revealing Haddon's sharp, wry sense of humor also displays a superb understanding of the human condition in all of its colorful, crazy permutations. In what seems like effortless prose, Haddon describes a few weeks of a family's life with such astuteness and empathy (so like that which he displayed in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) that I was utterly hypnotized.
Recommended by Brodie, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"A Spot of Bother is such a pleasure to read — it is funny, wry, and well-paced — that it is only later that you realize what a thoughtful novel it is. Mark Haddon created a unique voice in Christopher, his autistic fifteen-year-old narrator of The Curious Incident, and the book went on to win the Whitbread Book of the Year. A Spot of Bother is less quirky, less dazzlingly ambitious, yet to my mind it is just as satisfying and emotionally rich." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

George Hall is an unobtrusive man. A little distant, perhaps, a little cautious, not quite at ease with the emotional demands of fatherhood or of manly bonhomie. "The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely." Some things in life can't be ignored, however: his tempestuous daughter Katie's deeply inappropriate boyfriend Ray, for instance, or the sudden appearance of a red circular rash on his hip.

At 57, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden and enjoying the freedom to be alone when he wants. But then he runs into a spot of bother. That red circular rash on his hip: George convinces himself it's skin cancer. And the deeply inappropriate Ray? Katie announces he will become her second husband. The planning for these frowned-upon nuptials proves a great inconvenience to George's wife, Jean, who is carrying on a late-life affair with her husband's ex-colleague. The Halls do not approve of Ray, for vague reasons summed up by their son Jamie's observation that Ray has "strangler's hands." Jamie himself has his own problems — his tidy and pleasant life comes apart when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to Katie's wedding. And Katie, a woman whose ferocious temper once led to the maiming of a carjacker, can't decide if she loves Ray, or loves the wonderful way he has with her son Jacob.

Unnoticed in the uproar, George quietly begins to go mad. The way these damaged people fall apart — and come together — as a family is the true subject of Haddon's hilarious and disturbing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

A Spot of Bother is Mark Haddon's unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Once again, Haddon proves a master of a story at once hilarious, poignant, dark, and profoundly human. Here the madness — literally — of family life proves rich comic fodder for Haddon's crackling prose and bittersweet insights into misdirected love.

Review:

"As psychiatrist R.D. Laing once observed, the family is a machine designed to inflict insanity. Sometimes the buildup of stress merely leads to a never-ending tension, that guarded silence of an armed camp when the worn-out legionnaires await the attack at dawn. At other times, the stresses go even further, breaking forth in unending arguments, crippling anxiety, depression, the abuse of drink and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"It's a pleasant comic caper, the literary equivalent of a night spent watching a romantic comedy. There's nothing wrong with it, but nothing hugely memorable, either." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The surprise is that after spending a few hundred pages with these not- awfully-lovable characters, you come to regard them with something like affection." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Though Haddon is a clever writer...the results here fall somewhere between the psychological depth of Anne Tyler and the breeziness of Nick Hornby. Takes too long to arrive at its farcical finale and seems too slight in the process." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Haddon perfectly captures his characters' frailties and strengths while injecting humor with pinpoint accuracy. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Full of dialogue too clever by half, too perfectly timed to feel sincere. Even the book's one child can occasionally fire back zingers, giving this story the swift-moving, shallow current feel of television — and the same lasting power." Newsday

Review:

"A Spot of Bother snaps, crackles and pops with humor and pathos as Haddon depicts family members driving one another crazy." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

One of the most keenly awaited books of the year: the new novel from Mark Haddon. "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" won no fewer than 17 literary prizes, including the Whitbread, and has sold in copious quantities in all its editions. "A Spot Of Bother" begins with George Hall, a retired man in his sixties, finding a mark on his hip, which he is convinced is skin cancer. His increasingly odd behaviour is a worry to his family, but they have their own concerns to deal with. Part family-farce, part clear-eyed presentation of mental illness, part novel of manners, all written in Mark Haddon's unique and affecting style.

About the Author

Mark Haddon is the author of the international bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction and the Whitbread Book of the Year award. In addition to the recently published The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, a collection of poetry, Haddon has also written and illustrated numerous children's books and received several awards for his television screenplays.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

West Linn Reader, March 25, 2007 (view all comments by West Linn Reader)
"The Curious Incident..." is one of the best books I've ever read; this one was a bit of a disappointment, although it was enjoyable. Maybe I was just expecting too much. This one is funny and tragic at the same time; it is not as compelling as "The Curious Incident." Read it--as long as you're not expecting a repeat experience after you have read the first one.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(12 of 25 readers found this comment helpful)
Bookwomyn, November 4, 2006 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
What a pleasure to read a good book! I read a lot and am so often disappointed in current fiction but this book does not disappoint. Poor George . . . life is so hard for him right now. All of the characters are very real - their struggles so familar they seem like friends of the family with whom one can immediately care about.

Read it - you'll love it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)
sushichick, August 22, 2006 (view all comments by sushichick)
I just finished "The Curious Incidient..." last night in one sitting and am thrilled that a new book will be out in a mere month!
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(27 of 57 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385520515
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Haddon, Mark
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
September 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.4 x 5.6 x 1.5 in 1.175 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure

A Spot of Bother: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385520515 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A second novel as good as the first. The follow-up to A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is hilarious, dark, and entirely human. A Spot of Bother is the story of the highly dysfunctional Hall family: George, recently retired and going a bit crazy; his wife, Jean, none too attentive to George's troubles; their son, Jamie, who is having trouble deciding how or if he can commit to his boyfriend; and their daughter, Katie, a single mother getting ready to marry a man no one's too keen on. Haddon, to me, is a storyteller along the lines of John Irving or Nick Hornby. The premise and the goings-on can be fairly far-fetched, but I always end up caring for the characters and being drawn into the story.

"Staff Pick" by ,

A Spot of Bother is an adroit and highly accomplished comedy of manners, which while revealing Haddon's sharp, wry sense of humor also displays a superb understanding of the human condition in all of its colorful, crazy permutations. In what seems like effortless prose, Haddon describes a few weeks of a family's life with such astuteness and empathy (so like that which he displayed in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) that I was utterly hypnotized.

"Review A Day" by , "A Spot of Bother is such a pleasure to read — it is funny, wry, and well-paced — that it is only later that you realize what a thoughtful novel it is. Mark Haddon created a unique voice in Christopher, his autistic fifteen-year-old narrator of The Curious Incident, and the book went on to win the Whitbread Book of the Year. A Spot of Bother is less quirky, less dazzlingly ambitious, yet to my mind it is just as satisfying and emotionally rich." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "It's a pleasant comic caper, the literary equivalent of a night spent watching a romantic comedy. There's nothing wrong with it, but nothing hugely memorable, either."
"Review" by , "The surprise is that after spending a few hundred pages with these not- awfully-lovable characters, you come to regard them with something like affection."
"Review" by , "Though Haddon is a clever writer...the results here fall somewhere between the psychological depth of Anne Tyler and the breeziness of Nick Hornby. Takes too long to arrive at its farcical finale and seems too slight in the process."
"Review" by , "Haddon perfectly captures his characters' frailties and strengths while injecting humor with pinpoint accuracy. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Full of dialogue too clever by half, too perfectly timed to feel sincere. Even the book's one child can occasionally fire back zingers, giving this story the swift-moving, shallow current feel of television — and the same lasting power."
"Review" by , "A Spot of Bother snaps, crackles and pops with humor and pathos as Haddon depicts family members driving one another crazy."
"Synopsis" by , One of the most keenly awaited books of the year: the new novel from Mark Haddon. "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" won no fewer than 17 literary prizes, including the Whitbread, and has sold in copious quantities in all its editions. "A Spot Of Bother" begins with George Hall, a retired man in his sixties, finding a mark on his hip, which he is convinced is skin cancer. His increasingly odd behaviour is a worry to his family, but they have their own concerns to deal with. Part family-farce, part clear-eyed presentation of mental illness, part novel of manners, all written in Mark Haddon's unique and affecting style.

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