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A Curious Comedy of Manners

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Reviewed by Georgie Lewis

"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.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in...
    Used Trade Paper $6.95

2 Responses to "A Curious Comedy of Manners"

    Bernard Chasan September 2nd, 2006 at 8:01 am

    It is good news that Mark Haddon has written qanother fine novel. My commnet is about something else. The generic statement, quantities are limited with what is on hand - always accompanies the price and availability information. How come ? Don't you ever reorder ?

    Lisa Guidarini September 5th, 2006 at 9:32 am

    Mark Haddon's follow up novel to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is another sort of exploration into the darker, more obscure regions of the human mind. Instead of an adolescent main character with Asperger's Syndrome, in A Spot of Bother Haddon portrays a 61-year old who begins to think he's losing his mind shortly after finding a mysterious skin lesion on his hip.

    George Hall is convinced he has cancer, and that there's nothing that can be done for him. He's plunged into a dark, confusing sort of despair in which the world seems to wobble on its axis, throwing life as he knew it into an alternate nightmarish dimension. Fear overtakes him, often crippling him, and he begins having panic attacks he believes are a further proof of the cancer he's convinced himself is ravaging him.

    Meanwhile, his daughter is planning her second marriage to a man he and his wife disapprove of. His wife is having an affair with a former colleague of his, and his homosexual son lurks like an unsolved problem in the background.

    George Hall is falling apart.

    Mark Haddon's second novel is stellar. It's at times riotously funny, deeply empathetic and peopled with characters the reader comes to identify with so closely it's not surprising to find yourself actually worrying about them. Well, at least I hope it's not surprising to find yourself worrying about fictional characters! Perhaps I've just hit on fodder for Mark Haddon's third novel, devoted to the notion that readers can actually come to care so much for fictional characters they build a delusional world around them.

    All royalty checks accepted, Mr. Haddon.

    A Spot of Bother is a book not to be missed. Thanks so much to Doubleday for sending me a review copy of this book.


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