To add to my seemingly ever growing list of ‘unusual’ books I have been reading lately, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time certainly holds a commendable spot. Written entirely from the perspective of a child with the condition of Aspergers, the novel offers a powerful insight into life with such a brain condition. Though Haddon did not wish this to be the fundamental basis of the novel, indeed he does not state the condition openly, he does however emphasize to the reader how many things people take for granted. Simple things such as the length of a sigh and the variety of its meanings are highlighted in their true intricacies.
However, despite Haddon’s intentions the novel does offer an understanding of the hardships of such a condition, but likewise describes the amazing abilities some of these people can have. Christopher’s photographic memory, coupled with his purely matter-of-fact writing style, lends the reader a new and very interesting view of the world. His minutely detailed descriptions display just how many things most people ignore, and subsequently lose from their own lives. A room filled with a few furnishings becomes an exhibition of two sofas, one coffee tables, two chairs with a criss-cross pattern, a television with a freeview box and so on. This may not sound particularly interesting but the level of perception Christopher shows throughout the novel is truly incredible.
With regards to the narrative, this follows a simple plot at first; a Sherlockian investigation revolving around the namesake of the novel: his neighbour’s dog Wellington. What progresses from here however is a heart-breaking tale of family and love, all through the unemotional, factual eyes of Christopher. This novel truly lent me a greater understanding of this particular mental condition, one which I’m sure will offer me more empathy for those I may come across in the future.
Length: 288 (Red Fox)
Overall Rating: 4 stars
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