The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.
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J: It’s interesting that you mention diversity because I’ve never considered this to be a novel with a ‘diverse’ protagonist but I suppose that’s exactly what it is. Curious Incident shows just what an exceptional author Mark Haddon is because despite this very obviously being a story about a teenage boy with Asperger’s, it’s also, in a way, not at all about that.
M: Definitely! That really only occurred to me on reading it the second time. It’s really just an incredibly gripping story. Once again, I think the format has a lot to do with this. Short, sharp chapters keep the pace really swift. While we learn a lot about Christopher’s life, it’s incorporated so well and so succinctly into the storyline that the background never bogs the reader down. I also loved the combination of letters, diagrams, maps and drawings.
J: I did too! I love books that feel like scrapbooks and I think that you really get the sense that this is not just Christopher’s story but also his book that he has put together. I think that perhaps this book is the reason that I’m a huge fan of quirky chapter names because this will have been the first book that I read which wasn’t numbered normally. Every detail of this book has been thought of from Christopher’s point of view, and I think the prime numbered chapters are completely brill and so much fun!
M: You’re so right – every element of this book feels as if it’s from Christopher. That’s definitely another reason I think this book is fab. It doesn’t feel like someone telling the reader about life with Asperger’s, it feels like you’re living and that, to me, is what good fiction should be.
J: Mark Haddon really is a genius – this book has stuck with me for so long and is no doubt a book that I will continue to come back to whenever I need to delve into something familiar. I always finish this book with a smile on my face and it’s for that reason that it’s my all time favourite book!
M: It feels like so long ago I first read this, but it’s always been in the back of my mind. It’s a book I definitely plan to keep re-visiting because I feel I’ll always find some new perspective to it. On top of all that, it’s just a genuinely enjoyable, fast-paced read. Definitely one I’d highly recommend.