Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This is not the sort of book I'd normally read. But I was feeling woefully under-read when it came to Literature and the sort of books that you're supposed to read, so I checked a bunch out of the library, including Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. And I was hooked very quickly. Right from the beginning, Christopher, the narrator, is distinguished by his voice and the very deliberate way he tells the story. The story, we are informed, is about who killed Wellington the poodle, a dog of whom Christopher was very fond. Because of his specific way of looking at the world, Christopher places solving the crime as a matter of great importance, and his detecting soon leads to unraveling an even deeper secret. Throughout the book there are digressions about prime numbers, colors, constellations, maths problems, and other things. In some ways I'm reminded of Life of Pi. Even though this book is about a struggling family, it worked for me, I think, because of Christopher's matter-of-fact way of narrating things. There was never any sense of being supposed to pity the Boones. However, I still did sympathize with his parents. We never get a name for what's going on with Christopher, but even though he's smart in many ways, it's also clear that he's high-maintenance, and that can't be easy on parents. In the end, though, this is a hopeful book with an uplifting conclusion, and I'm glad I read it.

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