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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Paperback – 31 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099450259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099450252
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,728 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Haddon is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. His poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, was published by Picador in 2005, and his last novel, The Red House, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. He lives in Oxford.

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

Review

"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

"A delightful and brilliant book. Very moving, very plausible and very funny"--Oliver Sacks

"Brilliantly empathetic. Believe the hype: a brilliant, heart-warming book"--Scotsman

"A remarkable book. An impressive achievement and a rewarding read"--Time Out

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

351 of 363 people found the following review helpful By Nick Edwards on 8 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Many of the people who have reviewed this book have first hand experience of children with behavioural problems, or links to Aspergers and / or Autism. They have (almost entirely) commented on how this book reflects in some way their experiences or that of friends or relatives. They have almost all enjoyed the book, and having read these reviews you may feel that, if you have no such experience, the book may not appeal to you.
Well, I personally have no experience in these areas, and I can honestly say that this has gone straight into my all time top 5 reads!
The story is wonderfully crafted, and not a page goes by when you do not learn something new about Christopher, the central character who has, I understand, though it is not stated in the book, Aspergers Syndrome (the book is actually written entirely from Christophers perspective).
This is one of those rare books that makes you want to discuss (not just talk about) the story. My wife and I both read it over the same weekend, and we kept finding ourselves going back to it to talk through some of the difficulties that Christopher faced, and how it must be to have to deal with them, either as the child or as a parent. This story really gives an insight into a mind which, in some ways, is far more developed than the mind of an "ordinary" person. It also gives you a feel for what it must be like to need complete structure and order to a life which can never absolutely have both. The lack of what you and I would call "emotion" was in itself deeply moving, and several times I found myself asking how I would cope if one of my two children had the same difficulties.
This is a remarkable book. If only everyone could read it, society would become a much more understanding and accepting place for those who suffer from the effects of conditions such as Aspergers, ADHD and Autism.
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142 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Jenni Doherty on 5 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. He is fifteen and has Asperger’s, a form of Autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth and owns a pet rat called Toby. He hates the colours yellow and brown and hates being touched. He knows it’s going to be a good day if he passes red cars on his way to school on the bus. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey, which will turn his whole world upside down.
Haddon has created a wonderfully brilliant character. His depiction of Christopher’s world is deeply moving, very funny and utterly convincing. He shows a unique insight into the autistic mind of the unlikely teenage detective who stumbles on everyday normalities as obstacles which further leads him to unearthing secrets that shock and startle him into running away.
What drives Haddon’s tale, however, is his empathy for his protagonist: it might have been easy to make Christopher an amusing suburban hybrid of Forest Gump and Adrian Mole, but the author digs deeper, mining a deeper emotional truth with a rigorous sense of purpose, one expressly devoid of cheap homily. He also knows a damn good page-turner: the emotional beats here are resonant and well deserved, the key plot revelations affecting, and the payoff deeply satisfying.
Although a work of fiction, it is both an educational and vividly honest adaptation of the trails and hurdles that people like Christopher undergo on a daily basis and that most of us are unaware of. A lesson can surely be learned from reading this boy’s curiously different story.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Writing this first novel from the point of view of an autistic 15-year-old, Mark Haddon takes the reader into the chaos of autism and creates a character of such empathy that many readers will begin to feel for the first time what it is like to live a life in which there are no filters to eliminate or order the millions of pieces of information that come to us through our senses every instant of the day. For the autistic person, most stimuli register with equal impact, and Christopher's teacher Siobhan, at the special school he attends, has been trying to teach him to deal with the confusing outside world more effectively. At fifteen he is on the verge of gaining some tenuous control over the mass of stimuli which often sidetrack him.
When the dog across the street is stabbed and dies, Christopher decides to solve the mystery and write a book about it. His favorite novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes his model as he investigates the crime, uncovering many secrets involving his own family in the process. Innocent and honest, he sees things logically and interprets the spoken word literally, unable to recognize the clues which would tell him if someone is being dishonest, devious, or even facetious. As he tells his story in a simple subject-verb-object sentence pattern, Christopher tries to communicate and give order to his world, and the reader can easily see how desperate he is to find some pattern which will enable him to make sense of it.
Christopher's investigations eventually require him to make some remarkably brave decisions, and when he faces his fears and moves beyond his immediate neighborhood, the magnitude of this challenge is both dramatic and poignant.
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