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A Spot of Bother (Vintage)

by

A Spot of Bother (Vintage) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307278869
ISBN10: 0307278867
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

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 Georgie, 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:

"Recent retiree George Hall, convinced that his eczema is cancer, goes into a tailspin in Haddon's (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) laugh-out-loud slice of British domestic life. George, 61, is clearly channeling a host of other worries into the discoloration on his hip (the 'spot of bother'): daughter Katie, who has a toddler, Jacob, from her disastrous first-marriage to the horrid Graham, is about to marry the equally unlikable Ray; inattentive wife Jean is having an affair — with George's former co-worker, David Symmonds; and son Jamie doesn't think George is OK with Jamie's being queer. Haddon gets into their heads wonderfully, from Jean's waffling about her affair to Katie's being overwhelmed (by Jacob, and by her impending marriage) and Jamie's takes on men (and boyfriend Tony in particular, who wants to come to the wedding). Mild-mannered George, meanwhile, despairing over his health, slinks into a depression; his major coping strategies involve hiding behind furniture on all fours and lowing like a cow. It's an odd, slight plot — something like the movie Father of the Bride crossed with Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart' (as skin rash) — but it zips along, and Haddon subtly pulls it all together with sparkling asides and a genuine sympathy for his poor Halls. No bother at all, this comic follow-up to Haddon's blockbuster (and nicely selling book of poems) is great fun. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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:

"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:

A Washington Post Best Book of the YearA Spot of Bother is Mark Haddons unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. At sixty-one, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. When his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting married to the deeply inappropriate Ray, the Hall family is thrown into a tizzy. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.As parents and children fall apart and come together, Haddon paints a disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

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 1 comment:

gooser114, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by gooser114)
A story about a dysfunctional family told through each of their points of view. I liked the fact that the story was told from different characters view points, but overall I think this book dragged on. The characters were interesting, but not memorable. Their individual stories were appealing, but I just wasn't engaged by the story and was unable to connect with the characters. I was expecting more after reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278869
Author:
Haddon, Mark
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mortality
Subject:
Middle aged men
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;family;humor;mental illness;england;novel;british;relationships;contemporary fiction;marriage;wedding;comedy;contemporary;funny;literature;aging;english;literary fiction;cancer;21st century;uk;depression;love;homosexuality;fear;adultery;british li
Subject:
fiction;family;humor;mental illness;england;novel;british;relationships;contemporary fiction;marriage;wedding;comedy;contemporary;funny;literature;aging;english;literary fiction;cancer;21st century;uk;depression;love;homosexuality;fear;adultery;british li
Subject:
fiction;family;humor;mental illness;england;novel;british;relationships;contemporary fiction;marriage;wedding;comedy;contemporary;funny;literature;aging;english;literary fiction;cancer;21st century;uk;depression;love;homosexuality;fear;adultery;british li
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
7.96x5.24x.82 in. .60 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Spot of Bother (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Random House - English 9780307278869 Reviews:
"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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Recent retiree George Hall, convinced that his eczema is cancer, goes into a tailspin in Haddon's (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) laugh-out-loud slice of British domestic life. George, 61, is clearly channeling a host of other worries into the discoloration on his hip (the 'spot of bother'): daughter Katie, who has a toddler, Jacob, from her disastrous first-marriage to the horrid Graham, is about to marry the equally unlikable Ray; inattentive wife Jean is having an affair — with George's former co-worker, David Symmonds; and son Jamie doesn't think George is OK with Jamie's being queer. Haddon gets into their heads wonderfully, from Jean's waffling about her affair to Katie's being overwhelmed (by Jacob, and by her impending marriage) and Jamie's takes on men (and boyfriend Tony in particular, who wants to come to the wedding). Mild-mannered George, meanwhile, despairing over his health, slinks into a depression; his major coping strategies involve hiding behind furniture on all fours and lowing like a cow. It's an odd, slight plot — something like the movie Father of the Bride crossed with Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart' (as skin rash) — but it zips along, and Haddon subtly pulls it all together with sparkling asides and a genuine sympathy for his poor Halls. No bother at all, this comic follow-up to Haddon's blockbuster (and nicely selling book of poems) is great fun. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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 , "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 , A Washington Post Best Book of the YearA Spot of Bother is Mark Haddons unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. At sixty-one, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. When his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting married to the deeply inappropriate Ray, the Hall family is thrown into a tizzy. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.As parents and children fall apart and come together, Haddon paints a disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.
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