Monday, January 31, 2005

Review of Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Whichever bookstore I stepped in to in Israel there was Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Apparently it is really popular there both in the original English and in the Hebrew translation. It was a very good book.

The Book is narrated by Christopher, a 15 year old autistic boy. He is obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. He discovers a murder and decides to investigate on his own. The victim - his neighbor's poodle.

In the course of this "investigation" we discover that the narrator is writing this book, he is a mathematical savant and the book is lightly peppered with nice mathematical anecdotes about things like the Monty Hall problem and the Turing Test. Christopher has problems doing things that most of us find natural, like taking a subway or eating. He has numerous quirks, some of which I, and I suspect, many of my friends share.

The narrator discovers many things in the course of the investigation, including who murdered the dog, and why, but the most important and interesting feature of the book is not the plot, but the style, the mind of the narrator.

Not being autistic, I cannot speak to its authenticity, but regardless, it is an insightful look at a different kind of mind.

The book reads really fast, and I would recommend it to anyone.


30 something said...

tell us more about the quirks

Karl said...

Somewhere in the book he lists some of them. Some that stick in my mind are, that he hates France, hates the colors Yellow and Brown, will not eat food if it is touching another food on the plate.