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“Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent.” —The Boston Globe
“Moving. . . . Think of The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher in the Rye and one of Oliver Sacks’s real-life stories.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“This is an amazing novel. An amazing book.” —The Dallas Morning News
“A superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
“Brilliant. . . . Delightful. . . . Very moving, very plausible—and very funny.” —Oliver Sacks
“Superb. . . . Bits of wisdom fairly leap off the page.” —Newsday
“Disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect. . . . As suspenseful and harrowing as anything in Conan Doyle.” —Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review
“Extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny. . . . It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book.” —Financial Times, London
“Both clever and observant.” —The Washington Post
“Full of whimsical surprises and tender humor.” —People
“[Haddon] illuminates a core of suffering through the narrowly focused insights of a boy who hasn’t the words to describe emotional pain.” —New York Daily News
“Outstanding. . . . A stunningly good read.” —The Independent
“Engrossing . . . flawlessly imagined and deeply affecting.” —Time Out New York
“A remarkable book from a writer with very special talent.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“The Curious Incident is the rare book that repays reading twice in quick succession.” —Detroit Free Press
“Heart-in-the-mouth stuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero.” —The Daily Telegraph
“This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy.” —The New Yorker
“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 feeling we share even with those very different from us.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Mark Haddon’s portrayal of an emotionally disassociated mind is a superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
“A murder mystery, a road atlas, a postmodern canvas of modern sensory overload, a coming-of-age journal and lastly a really affecting look at the grainy inconsistency of parental and romantic love and its failures. . . . In this striking first novel, Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting.” —The Washington Post
“Haddon’s gentle humor reminds us that facts don’t add up to a life, that we understand ourselves only through metaphor.” —Chicago Tribune
“Beautifully written. . . . Heart-in-the-mouth stuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers and for showing that the best lives are lived where difference is cherished.” —The Daily Telegraph
“A detective story with a difference. . . . [Haddon] has given his unlikely hero a convincing voice–and the detective novel an interesting twist.” —The Economist
“Think Huck Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, or the early chapters of David Copperfield.” —Houston Chronicle
“A tale full of cheeky surprises and tender humor. . . . A touching evolution.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Funny, sad and totally convincing.” —Time
“More so than precursors like The Sound and the Fury and Flowers for Algernon, The Curious Incident is a radical experiment in empathy.” —The Village Voice
“One of the strangest and most convincing characters in recent fiction.” —Slate
“I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon’s funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you won’t want to lend yours out.” —Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
“At once funny and achingly sad, this thought-provoking debut may leave us wondering if our worn coping skills are really any better than Christopher’s.” —The News and Observer
“Filled with humor and pain, [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time] verges on profundity.” —San Jose Mercury News
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brims with imagination, empathy, and vision–plus it’s a lot of fun to read.” —Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season
What research did you do into Autism and Behavioural problems before writing this novel, is Christopher’s character based on anyone in particular?
After leaving university I spent several years working with adults and children who had a variety of physical and mental handicaps (as they were then known). Ever since that time I’ve been interested in the subject of disability and mental illness. As a result, hardly a week goes by without me reading an newspaper article or watching a television documentary about schizophrenia or manic depression or Tourette’s… And hardly a month goes by without me meeting yet another person who is the parent or grandparent of someone who has been diagnosed as having Asperger’s. I also know a number of adults (men, mostly) who would almost certainly be diagnosed with the syndrome if they had been born twenty, thirty, forty years later. And that was the extent of my ‘research’. I deliberately didn’t consult fat tomes on Asperger’s or visit special schools when I was working on the book because I wanted Christopher to work as a human being and not as a clinical case study.
The book has been published for adults and children simultaneously; did you set out to write a book which would appeal to such a wide age range?
No. I wrote it to entertain myself (which is, I think, the motivation behind any half-decent novel) in the hope that there would people out there who shared my interests and obsessions. So the much-vaunted ‘crossover appeal’ came as a very pleasant surprise.
Have you received any positive feedback from people with Aspergers Syndrome/ Autism, their families, or people who work with them?
To be scrupulously honest… the book had one very bad review from a young man with Asperger’s who thought the book was bad, mainly because Christopher wasn’t like him or like any other people he knew with Asperger’s. But the review missed the point, I think. People with Asperger’s are as diverse a group as Belgians or trumpet players or train drivers. There is no typical or representative person with Asperger’s. And to try and create one would have produced a stereotype.
On the other hand I’ve been genuinely moved and completely taken by surprise by the number of parents and grandparents of young people with Asperger’s who have written to tell me that the book rings completely true for them.
I have been even more surprised to receive several invitations to address academic conferences on Asperger’s and Autism. Which misses the point in a different way, I think. If Christopher seems real it’s because he’s well-written not because I’m an expert in the area. We live in an age obsessed with documentaries, with biographies, with investigative journalism. We often forget that you can have all the facts but be no nearer the truth. And this is what novels are good at. A novel can put you inside another person’s head and give you an understanding of their life you could only get by moving into their house for six months.
How did you come up with such and original idea for a novel?
It happened piece by piece and without any deliberate seeking after originality or quirkiness. I began with the image of the dog stabbed with the fork simply because I was searching for a vivid and gripping way of starting a novel. I then realised that if you described it in a flat, emotionless, neutral way it was also (with apologies to all dog lovers) very funny. So I had the voice. Only after using that voice for a few pages did I work out who it belonged to. Having done that the difficult thing was to work out a believable way for Christopher to construct a novel given that he is utterly unaware of the reader’s emotional responses to what he is writing. Having Christopher simply copy his hero, Sherlock Holmes, by borrowing the format of the murder mystery was the solution to this problem. Finally, because I genuinely believed that very few people would want to read a novel about a teenage boy with a disability living in Swindon with his dad, I arranged the whole plot round the central turning point (where we discover who killed Wellington and what really happened to Christopher’s mother) to make it as entertaining as possible, hopefully dragging the reader up to a highest point right in the middle, like a roller coaster, then speeding them down towards the conclusion.
Published by Vintage
May 18, 2004
| 240 Pages
| 5-3/16 x 8
| ISBN 9781400032716
Published by Doubleday
Jul 31, 2003
| 240 Pages
| 5-1/2 x 8-1/4
| ISBN 9780385512107
Published by Vintage
May 18, 2004
| 240 Pages
| ISBN 9781400079070