The title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
(or the curious incident of the dog in the night-time
as it appears within the book) is an appropriate one for Mark Haddon's ingenious novel both because of its reference to that most obsessive and fact-obsessed of detectives, Sherlock Holmes, and because its lower-case letters indicate something important about its narrator.
Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism--every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.
Haddon makes an intelligent stab at how it feels to, for example, not know how to read the faces of the people around you, to be perpetually spooked by certain colours and certain levels of noise, to hate being touched to the point of violent reaction. Life is difficult for the difficult and prickly Christopher in ways that he only partly understands; this avoids most of the obvious pitfalls of novels about disability because it demands that we respect--perhaps admire--him rather than pity him. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"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" (Carol Ann Duffy Daily Telegraph
"The clash between Christopher's view of the world and the way it looks to the rest of us makes this an extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny read. It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book, so the decision to publish it simultaneously for older children and adults is certainly well-founded" (Jill Slotover Financial Times
"Brilliantly inventive, full of dazzling set-pieces, unbearably 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
"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 TES
"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 Observer
--This text refers to an alternate