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Red House by Mark Haddon

Red House (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Mark Haddon

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7836411,764 (3.22)54
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)

Recently added byprivate library, mtagurcia, shellcox, Veerle_Vernaillen, Lilythepink, Jodeneg
  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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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I've been curious about this book for awhile when I'd visit the bookstore, I'd always be rereading the back and attracted by the cover. So, after a year or so I finally bought it. This isn't a full of action, fast paced book. It's actually quite the opposite, so even though I did enjoy it a bit, it was a book I could put down and ignore for a few days before picking it up again. I never felled compelled to keep reading.

The story is about a family, really two families tied together by a brother and sister, that come together for a week long holiday near Wales in England. Each chapter is a different day and it moves through the week bouncing back and forth between each person. Like with all families, usually a week is the limit that they can stand to be around each other, for some families it can be even less. Like I said, this wasn't full of action, but a little bit closer to real life. Many characters had internal conflicts, while others would interact with others and that might lead to conflict. Overall I really enjoyed the book, maybe also because it was the first one I've read by Mark Haddon. Is it the most amazing book ever? No. But I also don't think it's as terrible as some people think it is. ( )
  princess_mischa | Aug 27, 2015 |
Mark Haddon brings together two families, related through a brother and sister, after the death of their mother. The brother and sister appear very different; Richard is a successful consultant with no children and Angela is a teacher with three children. Richard has lots of money, Angela's family has little and couldn't afford a holiday but Richard is paying. Richard has recently married Louisa, who has a 16-year old daughter. Angela and her partner's marriage is struggling. We hear lots of different voices, often in short paragraphs, through the novel and so it can be confusing figuring out who is speaking and it was hard to really get a feel for some of the characters. The children are just as much a part of the novel as the adults. We here from Benjamin, the youngest, who has lots of fears and from Daisy, who also has lots of worries. Alex, the eldest, seems more at ease with himself. Melissa, Louisa's daughter, seems confident but also mixed up. The drama is best when there is a sustained piece of action, rather than the short bursts of thoughts. There is one incident in the middle of the week that is well described. Otherwise, the characters all appear to be working through some personal problem and so it is the holiday from hell and I found that a bit tedious. ( )
  Tifi | Jun 28, 2015 |
Not one but two dysfunctional families who are related---not a terrific listening experience although the reader, Maxwell Caulfield, is great. Haddon has a couple of the characters---Richard, in particular, go wandering off with thoughts about odd things---or maybe this is just Haddon trying to put in some of his own thinking. Do they all benefit from this experience on a "vacation" together---maybe a little---not exactly your typical run of problems come up but as with any families, every family is its own thing and two of them overlapping creates additional problems. ( )
  nyiper | Apr 28, 2015 |
It’s hard to review a book like this; Mark Haddon is a very talented writer and he has some brilliant techniques employed into this novel. However, I can’t help comparing this book to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and ultimately I think this book lacked something to make this book great. With the huge success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I can’t help but think that Mark Haddon has gotten overly confident with his writing. While it was refreshing and enjoyable to read a book with so many interesting writing techniques; I never really connected with the plot or the characters. I was so excited about reading another book by this author and I feel I made a rookie mistake by going into a book with such high expectations.

The Red House is the story about a well off physician, Richard, and his new family (recently married a woman with a sixteen year old daughter) taking a vacation. Richard invites his sister Angela and family to join them as they hadn’t seen each other since the funeral of their mother, fifteen years ago. Angela’s husband Dominic and three children are not as well off as Richard and took advantage of the offer as they wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation any other way. Together for a week in a rented cottage in Wales starts to show the cracks in everyone’s relationship and exposes just how dysfunctional the family really is.

Mark Haddon is contently switching between narrators in this book, I think I counted eight different points of views throughout this book (might be more) and one of those was an all-seeing third person narrative. With the narrative always changing and each character only giving a glimpse of an insight, this book started off a little confusing and hard to keep track of all of the main characters. One thing I’ve found that Haddon did in this book as well as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time that I really liked was that he wasn’t afraid to expose the inner voice of each character and allowing the reader an insight into the flaws and thoughts of each one of the characters. There were also a lot of references to pop-culture within this book that was quite enjoyable to read; especially all the references to each book the main characters were reading.

The Red House was actually a nice easy read and I was surprised how fast I got through this book; this could have been all the blank pages throughout the book. While I never really connected with this book the writing styles used throughout this book were interesting and almost experimental at times. Some of it worked and some of didn’t, I think Mark Haddon was overly confident when he wrote this book and it seemed to come through in the novel. I’m sure many people will love and enjoy this book and don’t let my opinion stop you from reading it. For me I struggled making that connection and I tried and tried to enjoy this book but it just didn’t quite get there.

This review was originally posted on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2012/05/18/book-review-the-red-house/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Apr 28, 2015 |
After the death of their mother, Richard and Angela bring there respective families together for a holiday. Living in the same house together after a history of estrangement dredges up a number of issues. Each of the members of the family has a secret. Each one is a fully developed, complex and interesting person. This book is sad and strange but captivating. The characters and events are haunting. Beautifully done! ( )
  Juva | Apr 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (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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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)

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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.

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