340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Seven Minutes past Midnight.

At the request of Ann Spam, I thought I'd plug The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a book I received as a thank-you gift from an acquaintance last year.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, as I apparently missed all the hype about it. What I found was an old-fashioned whodunit entwined with a fascinating character study. Given its unique voice, charming cast and unusual dénoument, I'm not surprised this book was a popular darling. It's a breezy read, but the characters are so compellingly drawn that they stayed with me afterwards. Beyond an unusual and unforgettable protagonist, the story features an assortment of plausible, sympathetic friends, neighbours and family members. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the parents' corroded marriage: Haddon manages to convey both the complexity of a very adult (and somewhat tragic) relationship and the block-simple interpolation of that relationship in Christopher's mind.

Although criticized by some for the simplicity of its language, I think that's one of the book's strengths: by framing the events in a clear, unadorned prose, Haddon retains a transparency and sincerity which reflects Christopher's own crystalline perspective. The trick -- and the wit-- is the way in which the author also manages to communicate the between-the-lines subtleties to the reader.

All told, one of the better novels I read last year.


  • At 6:39 a.m., Blogger Ann Spam said…


    Thanks for writing this review; it's interesting to know what you think of the book.

    Well, I found the plot rather simple. Maybe I've read too many Jacqueline Wilson books so it was kind of like deja vu for me.

  • At 11:29 p.m., Blogger Labris said…

    Oh, I agree: the plot's totally simple. I was more interested in the characters, though. I really liked that Haddon didn't take the easy way out with the parents' marriage and he avoided any sentimentality with Christopher. This isn't some Bobby Fisher autist-with-a-heart-of-gold... Christopher can be a bit of a jerk sometimes, which I liked.


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