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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the…

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Mark Haddon

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32,164101024 (3.9)897
Title:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Authors:Mark Haddon
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned
Tags:fiction, *from where

Work details

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003)

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    tortoise: Both are well-written novels with a first-person autistic-spectrum narrator. The Curious Incident has a better-constructed plot (the villain in The Speed of Dark is a bit cartoonish), but The Speed of Dark is I think more interesting as a commentary on autism.… (more)
    MyriadBooks: Undeservedly overshadowed by the concurrent publication of The Curious Incident, I found The Speed of Dark superior in every respect.
    Lucy_Skywalker: Speed of Dark is indeed superior in every respect: plot, characters, writing style, and the author has a better understanding of autistic people being the mother of one of them.
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» See also 897 mentions

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The inherent problem with a book like this is that the narrator is, by very nature, disconnected from emotion. Consequently the reader is unable to make an emotional investment in any of the characters either. This makes for an interesting piece of literature but a poor story. Disliking the narrator is not necessarily an issue, disliking the entire cast causes problems. ( )
  themus | Aug 2, 2014 |
It was a fascinating look into Christopher's mind. The way that Haddon wrote the disconnect between seeing and showing the audience the emotions and how Christopher saw and/or experienced the emotions was very well done. Definitely worth the read, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. ( )
  CSTaylor24 | Aug 1, 2014 |
One would think that a first-person fictional narrative about a teenage boy who likely has Asperger syndrome (the story doesn't explicitly say) would come across as repetitive and tedious. After all, the mannerisms of someone with this disorder are often, uh, repetitive and tedious. I can't imagine a sensible author choosing to write a book in this style. Except in this case, I could listen all day long. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon has a language that sings like poetry.

The dog in question, the one from the title and also depicted on most of the book covers, is solely a starting point for our Christopher John Francis Boone to tepidly venture out in the world. His daily life, his ability to cope, is built on familiar routines, and... well, let's just say things are about to get a whole lot less routine for him. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Jul 30, 2014 |
Christopher Boone narrates a tale which begins with the murder of his neighbor's dog and follows him through the investigation of the death as well as the ramifications of his discovery of the killer. It's obvious that 15-year-old Christopher is not quite normal, but does not reveal that this is due to Autism. A reader who is knowledgeable in the field of Mental Health will identify this readily. Christopher is an extremely reliable narrator, almost preoccupied with facts others would consider irrelevant, such as the exact phrasing of adverts and the number of cows in a field, as well as higher level mathematics. However, his interpretations of events and people are often confused or downright erroneous. Christopher struggles to make sense of his world, and Haddon has treated the reader to a rare view inside the mind of a person living with Autism. Those interested in further reading on the subject, particularly in a non-fictional and primary source would do well to peruse Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson ( )
  EmScape | Jul 15, 2014 |
I hadn't heard about "The Curious Incident" until a colleague told me about it and requested I order a set for her senior English class. I try and read all the major novels and short stories taught by the teachers in my department, so I took a copy home to read over this term break.

"The Curious Incident" was an inspiring read but also one that I was happy to reach the end of - both of these reactions on my part are a credit to Mark Haddon's story-telling and writing style.

The story is told by the main character, Christopher Boone, "a fifteen year old boy from Swindon with Asperger's Syndrome who loves maths and his pet rat Toby" who also hates yellow and brown, being touched and people telling lies. We enter Christopher's story on a night when he discovers his neighbour's dog, Wellington, impaled with a fork in the backyard. Christopher sets out to solve the mystery of the dog's murder despite admonitions from his father to cease and desist.

Haddon creates a brilliant narrative voice - the voice of a savant who awes readers with his observational skills and mathematical prowess; but also the voice of a boy who sounds younger than a teenager - a voice that speaks as many of my past eight year old students wrote, stringing series of sentences together starting with "And then" or "So then". It works.

It works so well that, while I was admiring of the style, I also couldn't wait to break free from Christopher's thought processes. Surely Haddon intends to create this feeling in his readers - the feeling that you are trapped in Christopher's mind with him with all his pedantic obsessions and insistence on black and white reasoning. I found myself relating with his frustrated parents, imagining how difficult it must be for them, though they are certainly portrayed as flawed to say the least. It felt good to be released from this mind to think my own thoughts again, as mundane as they can be as well in comparison to some of the richness found in Christopher's scientific meanderings. As I say, it works. Of course, I also had that sense that, although I finish the book and move on with my life, Christopher and others like him, carry on.

It's turned out to be a good recommendation and hopefully will be an excellent text for students with plenty to talk and write about. I look forward to their responses to it next term.

Antony Millen is the author of "Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River To Hiruharama"
[b:Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River To Hiruharama|18067949|Redeeming Brother Murrihy The River To Hiruharama|Antony Millen|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1370951913s/18067949.jpg|25269951] ( )
  Antony_Millen | Jul 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 953 (next | show all)
Mark Haddon specialises in innovative storylines in his work as an author, screenwriter and illustrator allied to his remarkable ability to demonstrate what it is to be autistic without sentimentality or exaggeration allied to a creative use of puzzles, facts and photographs in the text mark him out as a real talent drawing on a range of abilities.
As Christopher investigates Wellington's death, he makes some remarkably brave decisions and when he eventually faces his fears and moves beyond his immediate neighborhood, the magnitude of his challenge and the joy in his achievement are overwhelming. Haddon creates a fascinating main character and allows the reader to share in his world, experiencing his ups and downs and his trials and successes. In providing a vivid world in which the reader participates vicariously, Haddon fulfills the most important requirements of fiction, entertaining at the same time that he broadens the reader's perspective and allows him to gain knowledge. This fascinating book should attract legions of enthusiastic readers.
It's something of a miracle that Haddon (a children's book author-illustrator) never slips into condescension, given that the novel is premised on the reader's cognitive advantage—it derives much of its meaning from the gap between what Christopher perceives and what we understand based on the details he dispassionately communicates.
added by stephmo | editVillage Voice, Dennis Lim (Jul 22, 2003)
The imaginative leap of writing a novel -- the genre that began as an exercise in sentiment -- without overt emotion is a daring one, and Haddon pulls it off beautifully. Christopher's story is full of paradoxes: naive yet knowing, detached but poignant, often wryly funny despite his absolute humorlessness.
Haddon's book illuminates the way one mind works so precisely, so humanely, that it reads like both an acutely observed case study and an artful exploration of a different ''mystery'': the thoughts and feelings we share even with those very different from us.

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Haddonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boutavant, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pallemans, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tibber, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Sos
With thanks to Kathryn Heyman, Clare Alexander, Kate Shaw and Dave Cohen
First words
It was 7 minutes after midnight.
Wellington was a poodle. Not one of the small poodles that have hair styles but a big poodle.
I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.
All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I'm not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are.
Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.
I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.
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Book description
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher 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. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. 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.

AR 5.4, 10 Pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0099450259, Paperback)

Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.

Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbors--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Haddon's novel is a startling performance. This is the sort of book that could turn condescending, or exploitative, or overly sentimental, or grossly tasteless very easily, but Haddon navigates those dangers with a sureness of touch that is extremely rare among first-time novelists. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is original, clever, and genuinely moving: this one is a must-read. --Jack Illingworth, Amazon.ca

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

(summary from another edition)

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