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Red House by Mark Haddon
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Red House (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Mark Haddon

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8467310,632 (3.21)54
Member:nowright
Title:Red House
Authors:Mark Haddon
Info:Jonathan Cape (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Red House by Mark Haddon (2012)

  1. 10
    The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (Anonymous user)
  2. 00
    This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry (JGoto)
    JGoto: About a dysfunctional family, but written with humor.
  3. 00
    All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: Both books tell the story of a family with issues, from their different viewpoints. 'All Families' does it with lots of black humor, 'The Red House' with an interesting approach to the viewpoints.
  4. 01
    Deutschland by Martin Wagner (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Both books have a tangle of reticent English family members misunderstanding each other while on holiday
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» See also 54 mentions

English (73)  Dutch (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
You probably recall the quirky narrative voice from the author's previous book, [b:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|1618|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|Mark Haddon|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327882682s/1618.jpg|4259809] (which, full disclosure, I loved). This time around, though, Haddon shifts the narrative perspective amongst his ensemble cast of four adults and four children. I have discovered that I really, really hate when I start reading a bit of dialogue and have no idea who's speaking. (That's actually the primary reason I abandoned [b:Girl Reading|10702453|Girl Reading|Katie Ward|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327932980s/10702453.jpg|15612733], it drove me so insane.) In this book, I felt like I kept running into passages like this one: I poured myself another glass of the Monbazillac. As I raised it to my lips something moved in the darkened hallway. Was it the white shoe? My heart hammered, the stimulus rushing through my sensory cortex and hypothalamus to the brain stem, flooding my body with adrenaline. I walked over and found that my coat had slipped off its hook. The problem was, I didn't remember Monbazillac being mentioned, and what white shoe??? Eventually I realized it was an excerpt from a novel one of the characters is reading, so really, it's just put in there to be confusing, as far as I can tell. Grrrr.

And so when I was about twenty-five pages into this book, I was thinking it would be a close call on whether it managed to get two stars from me. The other problem was that for the first quarter of the book or so, I had trouble remembering the relationships. Two adult women and two adult men form two married couples, but one of the women is the sister of the man she's not married to, and I just had trouble keeping it straight. The kids were easier: a teenage boy, rather stereotypically but probably realistically full of hormones; a haughty teenage girl used to being popular but secretly insecure; a misfit teenage girl who's recently found religion, making everyone else a bit uncomfortable; and a pre-teen boy, the kind who begs for a toy sword in a souvenir shop and can entertain himself with it for hours afterward. Perhaps not surprisingly, that last character was easily my favorite: He occupies, still, a little circle of attention, no more than eight meters in diameter at most. If stuff happens beyond this perimeter he simply doesn't notice unless it involves explosions or his name being yelled angrily.

So it took me awhile to settle into this one, but I'm glad I stuck with it. The stream-of-consciousness style is not my favorite; the sentence fragments can be a bit annoying. Judy Hecker at work. Awful breath. Ridiculous that it should be a greater offense to point this out. Arnica on the shelf above his shaver. Which fool did that belong to? Homeopathy on the N.H.S. now. Prince Charles twisting some civil servant’s arm no doubt. But in the end, almost despite myself, I found myself wrapped up in the intricate family dramas, in the way each person's secrets implicate others, affecting their behaviors, and changing the relationships. I'd say worth a read, especially given that it's a quick one. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
An interesting read. A kind of multi perspective view of a family holiday with troubled secrets emerging. I felt for most of the characters and found it an engaging read. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
I wish there was a star level between "I didn't like it" and "I liked it" which covered a feeling like, "meh. I finished it." That would describe this book. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
I wish there was a star level between "I didn't like it" and "I liked it" which covered a feeling like, "meh. I finished it." That would describe this book. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
I wish there was a star level between "I didn't like it" and "I liked it" which covered a feeling like, "meh. I finished it." That would describe this book. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Haddon’s tone is flawless, so compassionate and detailed and precise that this novel beguiles without cloying, illuminates without demystifying. All happy families may be alike, but oh, how wonderful to witness the myriad unhappiness of the others, conjured by a virtuoso wordsmith.
 
If you want truly great literature set in an English country house, you still can’t beat Wodehouse’s Blandings books for deep-core contentment and unbridled comic zip. “The Red House,” on the other hand, reads as if it were written to silence those critics who damn Haddon with the faint praise of being too “readable.” Mission accomplished.
 
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To Clare, with thanks to Mary Gawne-Cain
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Cooling towers and sewage farms.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385535775, Hardcover)

An dazzlingly inventive novel about modern family, from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The set-up of Mark Haddon's brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.

But because of Haddon's extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt. As we come to know each character they become profoundly real to us. We understand them, even as we come to realize they will never fully understand each other, which is the tragicomedy of every family.

The Red House is a literary tour-de-force that illuminates the puzzle of family in a profoundly empathetic manner -- a novel sure to entrance the millions of readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside, which results in a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams, and rising hopes.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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