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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon 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. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he 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 he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher's mind. And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon's choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read. Author Biography: 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. Editorial Reviews Haddon's book is a bit like watching a DVD with a commentary track. There is the story that Christopher relates as he understands it alongside the story that he doesn't fully grasp. His favorite book is The Hound of the Baskervilles -- that's where the title comes from -- and he's aware of the demands of the mystery genre. One ongoing device is his comically self-conscious deployment of hard-boiled police procedural phrases, as when he notes of a suspect, "I might have more evidence against him, or be able to Exclude Him From My Investigation." - Tom Peyser - The Los Angeles Times In choosing to make Christopher his narrator, Mr. Haddon has deliberately created a story defined and limited by his hero's very logical, literal-minded point of view. The result is a minimalistic narrative -- not unlike a Raymond Carver story in its refusal to speculate, impute motive or perform emotional embroidery. -- Michiko Kakutani - The New York Times Mark Haddon's stark, funny and original first novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is presented as a detective story. But it eschews most of the furnishings of high-literary enterprise as well as the conventions of genre, disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect. -- Jay McInerney - NY Times Sunday Book Review ... Incident meticulously imagines the frustrations of an autistic's world, where sensory intake is heightened but the capacity to process information diminished. The hero's brain chemistry is the book's best safeguard against cuteness. He keeps his distance because he has no other option, an unwitting hardass to the end. - The Village Voice The essence of good writing is a sort of cataloguing, if you will, with the author supplying the details of the world he wants to evoke and the reader supplying the nuances of interpretation. Thanks to the brilliance of Haddon's prose, this back-and-forth works extremely well in The Curious Incident ... In this striking first novel, Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting. - Nani Power - The Washington Post 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. -author of Atonement and Amsterdam - Ian McEwan 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 wonpt want to lend yours out. -author of Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden The Curious Incident brims with imagination, empathy, and vision -- plus it's a lot of fun to read. -author of Bee Season - Myla Goldberg The fifteen-year-old narrator of this ostensible murder mystery is even more emotionally remote than the typical crime-fiction shamus: he is autistic, prone to fall silent for weeks at a time and unable to imagine the interior lives of others. This might seem a serious handicap for a detective, but when Christopher stumbles on the dead body of his neighbor's poodle, impaled by a pitchfork, he decides to investigate. Christopher understands dogs, whose moods are as circumscribed as his own ("happy, sad, cross and concentrating"), but he's deaf to the nuances of people, and doesn't realize until too late that the clues point toward his own house and a more devastating mystery. This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy; whether describing Christopher's favorite dream (of a virus depopulating the planet) or his vision of the universe collapsing in a thunder of stars, the author makes his hero's severely limited world a thrilling place to be. - The New Yorker Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. 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. (June 17) Forecast: Considerable buzz abroad-rights sold in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.-and a film deal (rights bought by Hey Day, the makers of Harry Potter) augur well for this engaging debut. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. - Publishers Weekly Sometimes profound characters come in unassuming packages. In this instance, it is Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old autistic savant with a passion for primary numbers and a paralyzing fear of anything that happens outside of his daily routine. When a neighbor's dog is mysteriously killed, Christopher decides to solve the crime in the calculating spirit of his hero, Sherlock Holmes. Little does he know the real mysteries he is about to uncover. The author does a revelatory job of infusing Christopher with a legitimate and singularly human voice. Christopher lives in a world that is devoid of the emotional responses most of us expect, but that does not mean he lacks feelings or insights. Rather than being just a victim, he is allowed to become a complex character who is not always likable and sometimes demonstrates menacing qualities that give this well-trod narrative path much-needed freshness. 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 for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/03.]-David Hellman, San Francisco State Univ. Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. - Library Journal Adult/High School-When a 15-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome finds his neighbor's dog murdered, he is determined to discover who committed the crime. Despite his compulsive behaviors and an inability to read other people's emotions, the teen is able to solve the mystery. In doing so he must come to terms with some serious family problems. A rich and poignant novel. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. - School Library Journal Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who's also a math genius. Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor's dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he "would like to read himself"-and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears's dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can't stand to be touched-any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what's going to happen next). Christopher's father bails him out but forbids his doing any more "detecting" about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother's "death," his father's own part in it-and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds-his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced "maths" in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly. A kind of HoldenCaulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash. Film rights to Hey Day, with Brad Grey & Brad Pitt for Warner Bros. Agent: Clare Alexander/Gillon Aitken - Kirkus Reviews Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent." --The Boston Globe "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 - From the Publisher

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  • Model: 9780099450252
  • SKU: 9780099450252
  • ISBN: 9780099450252
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Tags: Mark Haddon

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