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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the…

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

by Mark Haddon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
38,626122429 (3.89)1148
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.
  1. 4111
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Cecrow, unlucky)
    Cecrow: A similar narrator, who undergoes a startling transformation.
  2. 205
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Miss-Owl)
  3. 173
    The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (tortoise, MyriadBooks, Lucy_Skywalker)
    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.
  4. 152
    Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant: A Memoir by Daniel Tammet (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: The autobiography of an autistic man, offering insight into his thought processes and the difficulties that he faced
  5. 133
    Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (jeanned, Vulco1)
    Vulco1: A mystery story following a non-neuotypical person trying to solve a crime they are personally invested in while trying to navigate tricky interpersonal relationships.
  6. 135
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (JeaniusOak)
    JeaniusOak: Both equally readable by adults and teens alike
  7. 92
    Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison (kaelirenee)
  8. 71
    Marcelo In The Real World by Francisco Stork (jbarry)
  9. 82
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (santli)
    santli: A young female protagonist who also stumbles across a strange murder and uses her prodigious knowledge of science to sleuth the answer.
  10. 50
    Wonder by R. J. Palacio (bookwren)
    bookwren: Wonder is about a boy with a physical deformity who must interact with people who don't always understand him.
  11. 40
    The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen (jensm, EMS_24)
    EMS_24: vanwege manier van vertellen en uitleg via tekeningetjes, plus geheim uitstapje met de trein. (way of telling the story, the images and secret trip by train)
  12. 51
    Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern (Booksloth)
  13. 62
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Anonymous user)
  14. 41
    Lottery by Patricia Wood (suzanney, chndlrs)
  15. 41
    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (aliklein)
  16. 30
    The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (Johanna11)
  17. 52
    The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: The protagonists in both books imagine themselves as detectives. Both characters are accurate observers, but because they think differently than most people, they don't perceive the implications or consequences of their discoveries.
  18. 41
    The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig (Booksloth)
  19. 20
    Carry Me Down by M. J. Hyland (starfishian)
  20. 20
    Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: The narrator in Come, Thou Tortoise does not have Aspergers, but her comments have a similar quirkiness and innocent wit as the comments by the narrator in Curious Incident.

(see all 55 recommendations)

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» See also 1148 mentions

English (1,160)  Spanish (20)  Dutch (17)  French (5)  Catalan (5)  German (4)  Italian (4)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Korean (1)  Romanian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (1,223)
Showing 1-5 of 1160 (next | show all)
A story of a broken family from the viewpoint of an autistic youth, who decides to find out who killed the neighbor's dog. A tale of small humans who can hardly bear what being human requires. Not an easy read, but balanced between the needs of the story and the choice of teller. ( )
  quondame | May 28, 2020 |
An autistic narrator is a tough first-person perspective to tackle, but Mark Haddon handles it both tastefully and creatively. Christopher, while young and mentally challenged, possesses a strong and compelling voice, often making simple yet profound observations. We follow his journey as a whodunnit in the neighborhood leads him to run away from home and uncover family secrets. The story is framed as a mystery, but the real highlight is Christopher's unique way of looking at the world. This is a fantastic novel with a lot of heart.

If you have the chance, I encourage you to also watch the theatrical production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play is so well done and very faithful to its source material. ( )
  hianbai | May 28, 2020 |
This book got a lot of rave reviews. Among them:

(1) The Financial Times sad: "It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book."

(2) The Washington Post Book World said: "A murder mystery, a road atlas, a postmodern canvas of modern sensory overload, . . . Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting."

(3) A Spotlight Review on Amazon was entitled: "A Math Teacher's Dream & an Awesome Book" and said: "I just might have to put this book on a required reading list for my high school math students."

Well, I'm a math teacher. I like mysteries. I like to be moved and delighted. So I bought and read this book.

It was a mistake. The book didn't really move me, and to the extent it inspired an emotion that emotion was depression rather than delight. The only mystery is why I keep buying modern fiction. As for requiring the book for my math students, the number of F-, S-, and worse words in the book make that out of the question.

This book is written as if it were written by an autistic boy named Chris. He starts writing it as a "true" mystery novel in which he attempts to determine who killed a neighbor's dog. The killer is revealed when he confesses halfway through the book, and there are really no clues leading up to the revelation. Chris is good at maths--the story takes place in England--hence, the excuse for the inclusion of some math problems in the book.

So, what did I like about the book? I guess I now understand a little better how hard the life of an autistic child is, as is the life of his family members. I also guess I understand better how autistic children think. (The author used to work with autistic kids, so I'm guessing he got this part right.) Also, the author does effectively communicate that the British working class is foul-mouthed, and British cities stink. (Is that a good thing?)

Some miscellaneous observations:

(1) On p. 14, Chris writes: "The word 'metaphor' . . . is when you describe something by using a word for something that it isn't. . . . I think it should be called a lie. . ." With some arguable exceptions, Chris is able to write the entire book without metaphors, to which all I can say is: I like metaphors. I'm reminded of an essay in Susan Haack's Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate in which she quotes the writings of Locke, Hobbes, and Mill in which they criticize the use of metaphor and then she points out how these great philosophers themselves used metaphor in the same page, paragraph, or even sentence in which they were criticizing its use. (Self-referentiality and self-contradiction is something I detect a lot in philosophical writings. And it shows up in the logic books I use to teach my students how to do mathematical proofs: "We say A AND B is true if A is true and B is true." Huh?)

(2) On pp. 19 and 20, Chris writes: "This is another reason why I don't like proper novels, because they are lies about things which didn't happen . . ." If I can remember correctly from when I read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land 45 years ago, a similar point was made by the Martian protagonist.

(3) For the most part, Chris displays a typical modern viewpoint. It's not clear whether Haddon is endorsing that viewpoint. Chris is anti-war and anti-religion. Does Haddon want us to see Chris's
simplistic arguments as simplistic or as convincing? Chris is, however, quite non-PC on the subject of learning disabilities:

"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. I'm meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult and also everyone has special needs, like Father, who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee to stop him from getting fat, or Mrs. Peters, who wears a beige-colored hearing aid, or Siobhan, who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs." (pp. 43,44.)

(4) One of the math problems the book discusses is the Monty Hall problem: You're on "Let's Make a Deal". There are three doors. Behind one is a car; behind each of the other two is a goat. You pick a door. Monty picks one of the other two doors, a door he knows has a goat behind it, and opens the door to show you the goat. Then he asks you if you'd like to trade your unopened door for what's behind the other unopened door. Should you trade? Yes, you should. This is an old, old problem that I remember reading about 40 years ago and having to convince myself through experiment that you should trade, but the problem really became popularized when the world's smartest person, Marilyn vos Savant discussed it in her column. Marilyn's gotten simple math problems wrong in her column (e.g., "If a hen-and-a-half can lay an egg-and-a-half in a day-and-a-half, how many hens does it take to lay six eggs in six days?"), and she wrote an entire book entitled _The World's Most Famous Math Problem_ that displays a fundamental misunderstanding about the role of complex numbers in mathematics, but she did get the Monty Hall problem right. Among the many people who wrote her strongly-worded letters to tell her her correct answer was incorrect were some who were alleged to hold Ph.D.'s in mathematics. Chris excerpts from some of these letters in this book, and lists the names of the writers. I looked them up and most of the math Ph.D.s appear to have been elderly or inconsequential, but one of them had written 17 papers on partial differential equations and was the department chair at a respectable University. Oh, how embarrassing! ( )
  cpg | May 16, 2020 |
Este libro salió hace poco, y reconozco que el protagonista era tan friki que me cayó simpático inmediatamente, haciéndome comprar el libro. Cristopher Boone, según reza la contraportada, sabe de relatividad, conoce de memoria los números primos hasta el 7507 y adora la astronomía y los ordenadores, pero tiene problemas para relacionarse con la gente. Y su vida cambia cuando una noche descubre muerto al perro de la vecina. Al stilo de Sherlock Holmes, su héroe literario, Christopher se pondrá a investigar siguiendo férreamente los dictados de la lógica.
El libro me recuerda un poco a Forrest Gump. Narra la vida a través de un chico que parece claramente un idiot savant, un chico con estupendas aptitudes para algunas cosas pero relativamente incapaz de realizar una vida normal debido a otros tantos problemas de interacción con el mundo.
El libro está narrado por el protagonista, que es completamente lógico en sus interpretaciones de lo que le rodea. Aprovecha cada cierto número de páginas (los capítulos están numerados de forma peculiar: 2,3,5,7,11,13,17... uséase, los números primos) para hacer una disquisición física o matemática o biológica, en plan divulgación, y criticando ferozmente la superchería, y la magufada, id est, la pseudociencia. El libro se lee de un tirón (yo tardé tres horas y pico) y deja un regusto agridulce, ya que las circunstancias que rodean la vida de Cristopher no son las mejores. Muy entretenido y recomendable. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
I'm autistic, and have heard from many in my community this isn't a good representation of us, so I'm choosing not to read it. ( )
  rachelreading | Apr 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 1160 (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.
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.
Mark Haddon's stark, funny and original first novel, ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,'' is presented as a detective story. But it eschews most of the furnishings of high-literary enterprise as well as the conventions of genre, disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Haddonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cerar, VasjaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boutavant, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardenas, AlejandroCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaye, Michael IanCover designersecondary 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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