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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeby Mark Haddon
2003 Whitbread Book of the Year Award 2003 Whitbread Novel Award
An autistic math genius sets out to solve the murder-by-pitchfork of a neighbor's dog. The narrator's autism gives a terrific, interesting depth to his voice. Incredibly well done, Mark Haddon's debut novel is sweet, original, and moving.
Synopses & Reviews
Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions, and cannot stand to be touched. Gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. "I do not always do what I'm told," he admits. "And this is because when people tell you what to do it is usually confusing and does not make sense. For example, people often say 'Be quiet' but they don't tell you how long to be quiet for..."
At fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork and is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents' marriage. As Christopher tries to deal with this crisis within his own family, the narrative draws readers into the mysterious workings of Christopher's mind.
At once deeply funny and heartbreakingly poignant, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years.
"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." Publishers Weekly
"This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy; whether describing Christopher's favorite dream...or his vision of the universe collapsing in a thunder or stars, the author makes his hero's severely limited world a thrilling place to be." The New Yorker
"[A] bittersweet tale....A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash." Kirkus Reviews
"For Haddon to have created such a superbly realized autistic world-view is, in itself, remarkable. Brilliantly inventive, full of dazzling set-pieces, unbearbly sad, yet also skilfully dodging any encounters with sentimentality, this isn't simply the most original novel I've read in years...it's also one of the best." The Times (London)
"[S]tark, funny and original....
"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
"Superb....Bits of wisdom fairly leap off the page." Newsday
"Narrated by the unusual and endearing Christopher, who alternates between analyzing mathematical equations and astronomy and contemplating the deaths of Wellington and his mother, the novel is both fresh and inventive." Booklist
"A stroke of genius, as the advantages of having a naive, literal-minded boy in the driving seat are manifold... we do learn what it might feel like to have Asperger's Syndrome." David Newnham, T.E.S.
"A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash." Kirkus Reviews
"Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy." Ian McEwan, author of Atonement and Amsterdam
"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
"The Curious Incident brims with imagination, empathy, and vision — plus it's a lot of fun to read." Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season
"Brilliant....Delightful....Very moving, very plausible — and very funny." Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings
"In this striking first novel, Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting." The Washington Post Book World
"The book gave me that rare, greedy feeling of: this is so good I want to read it all at once but I mustn't or it will be over too soon" Kate Kellaway, The Observer
"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...the thoughts and feelings we share even with those very different from us. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly
"The novel is being marketed to a YA audience, but strong language and adult situations make this a good title for sophisticated readers of all ages. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"One of the strangest and most convincing characters in recent fiction." Slate
Narrated by a 15-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
SOLVING CRIME, ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION AT A TIME
Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.
But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...
Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and his story--as told by the screenwriters of X-Men: First Class and Thor--is perfect for readers who have graduated from Encyclopedia Brown and who are ready to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.
About the Author
Mark Haddon is a writer and illustrator of numerous award-winning children's books and television screenplays. As a young man, Haddon worked with autistic individuals. He teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and at Oxford University. He lives in Oxford, England.
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