Posts Tagged: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Red House by Mark Haddon

May 18, 2012 Literary Fiction, Mark Haddon 4

The Red House by Mark HaddonTitle: The Red House (Goodreads)
Author: Mark Haddon
Published: Jonathan Cape, Random House, 2012
Pages: 272
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

BuyAmazon, (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

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.

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Light Reading?

April 27, 2012 Literature 0

lookingforakRecently my mother complained about my taste in books, calling them difficult or weird books to read. This led to her saying that she wouldn’t trust me to recommend her a book because she wants light and frivolous books. I’ve recommended her two books in the past; one was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which was not really light or frivolous but it is just a brilliant story and it has something for everyone in it; everyone except my mother. The other book was a lot lighter and easier to read, it was the exciting debut novel, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep; which she didn’t like either. So what do I recommend to someone that doesn’t want to think or feel any sad thoughts?

Light reading is an interesting concept. While some people read too many romance novels that it can’t be healthy (Yes, you know who you are but at least you try my book recommendations), others turn to fantasy, science fiction and thrillers in the hopes to escape reality. Everyone has a different concept of light reading. For me; I think I do a lot of light reading but my concept of light reading normally involves pulp fiction or a dark thriller. Then again I seem to enjoy reading all types of books and find great pleasure in reading literary fiction, classics and others books people might think isn’t light.

Which brings me to an interesting article, found on Book Riot about The Problems of Reading for Pleasure, which talks about people’s favourite books and how they are never the type of books they actually read. The author of this article tries to understand why crime and romance novels are so popular but they never seem to on people’s favourite books list. Also he mentions the fact that maybe diversity in reading will lead to a richer and more diverse reading life. I love this article because it pleases the book snob in me and it also raises a very interesting point.

While I hope people are willing to try new genres and willing to listen to recommendations from fellow bibliophiles, I wonder; do people know a reader like my mother? What do you recommend and do you secretly try to help expand their minds with great literature that may also be light and enjoyable for the reader.

I thought about this for a long time and I think I’ve found some books I would recommend to my mother;

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

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