The Red House Paperback – 10 May 2012
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|Paperback, 10 May 2012||
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"A beautiful object that will grace any holiday home's unfixably wobbly bedside table. The cover feels like a cracked china plate, decorated with a clever re-working of the willow-pattern; like the contents, it is subtle and clever. Haddon writes superb books for children, teenagers and grown-ups, and gets every voice in this one dead right. He is also a master craftsman, so this complicated narrative moves with the speed and certainty of released, unhappy holidaymakers hitting the homeward road. So shove this in your holidaying bag. You may have made a mistake with the booking, but you won't with the book" (Susan Jeffreys Independent)
"Mark Haddon is terrifyingly talented... The Red House is thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable entertainment" (Angus Clarke The Times)
"A hugely enjoyable, sympathetic novel...a tremendous pleasure...we have been absorbed, entertained and moved" (Kate Kellaway Observer)
"Rather like with Alan Ayckbourn's plays, what makes The Red House engaging is the quality of the writing. From the first page in which the train carrying Dominic and Angela's family "unzips the fields", there is a vigor to Haddon's prose which carries you along. I read it twice, both times with enjoyment" (Amanda Craig Independent on Sunday)
"With writing as elegant and truthful as this, readers will wish to keep their copies close at hand to savour again" (Michael Arditti Daily Mail) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
The most keenly awaited book of the year - the superb new novel by the author of A Spot of Bother and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As always, Haddon gets inside each of his characters and opens them up like an anatomist, dissecting their behaviour and motives, and recording their pains and triumphs. As it says on the jacket, he has "a true understanding of the human heart". (So true, in fact, that it might be unsettling, having him as one of your relatives! That acuity of perception; you could get away with nothing.) His observations on children in particular are wonderfully good, and the four in this novel will tug at your heartstrings: the unhappy girl who doesn't know how to be kind; the late-adolescent boy obsessed with sex, rivalry and the need to impress; his sister's struggle to come to terms with something that has turned her to religion for comfort; and the little boy who is still very much a child, but has to deal with the complicated manoeuvres of those older than him, when all he wants to do is have fun.
The story is told in small chunks, switching quickly from one perspective to another: a structure likely to annoy me, but it didn't.Read more ›
Angela teaches, while her husband Dominic, once a successful composer of ad tunes is now working in a book store; they have two teenage children, Alex and Daisy, and eight year old Benjy. Angela and Dominic's marriage is shaky, Alex is loosing respect or his father and Daisy has joined a church and has cut herself off from her old friends.
When Richard invites Angela and her family to join them for a week in a rented cottage on the Welsh border it is with mixed feelings that they accept. The Red House is an account of their holiday. Taken day by day it is a series of episodes from their interactions, peppered with their private thoughts and worries, along with occasional snippets from their chosen various reading matter.
The account flits from person to person with rapid frequency, and is occasionally interspersed with descriptive paragraphs of their isolated location often with little regard for proper sentence structure - this is not a criticism, just an observation, but I hope it conveys something of the slightly unusual construction of this novel.
Over the course of the week we observe the individual characters, and far from all come out of the experience with shinning colours. The otherwise self confident Richard has his eyes opened as to how he treats others, and his previously adoring new wife sees him in a new light. Their self-centred daughter may or may not be a better person after the events of the week.Read more ›
It remeinded me a little of Alice Thomas Ellis, with more up-to-date characters. And boy is it up to date. It practically thrusts its modernity down your throat. You know, short paragraphs that skip from character to character; an ever changing tense, sometimes past, sometimes present. Ruminations and stream-of consciousness (not that that's modern) and that wealth of realistic detail that seems there more to pad the whole thing out. No speech marks, naturally. Those useful little squiggles seem to have little place in a modern book intended to be artistic. Instead we have italics. Whatever next? How about all nouns in bold? Really, I get so tired of writers messing with the form instead of letting the story, the characters, the description do the job. It's not as though Mark Haddon can't write - I just don't understand why he had to wrap up this rather humdrum tale in such artiness. I don't often give a book only one star, but this really brassed me off.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A dreary set of characters with no clear indication of individual voice - they are all Mark Haddon - and no purpose or reason for being in the Red House. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Dillon the Villain
A truly awful book, possibly the worst book I have ever read.
Which makes me wonder whether this was the author's desired effect. Read more
This book might have been a lot better had we known who was speaking to whom about what. The somewhat pretentious rejection of standard grammatical practice on speech in favour of... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Stuart C.
A little disappointing. Too many characters and I found myself unable to empathise with any.Published 1 month ago by Margaret Ericsen
After reading all the bad reviews, I kept stalling to buy and read this. I loved Haddon's previous 2 books, especially a Spot of Bother, so in the end I decided to give this a go. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ReviewingBooks
Really enjoyed The Curious Incident but this not so much - too negative and I didn't really like any of the characters apart from Benji who saved the book and got the review an... Read morePublished 2 months ago by ALC Island
I loved the dog in the night-time. I really enjoyed a spot of bother. I looked forward to reading the red house. But what happened?
Mr. Read more
A book almost without any purpose, simply following two families on holiday. I liked the attempt to cover the views of all parties, even if at times it was difficult to say which... Read morePublished 2 months ago by ESES