Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Part of the "Page Turners for Travelers" Collection
Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . irritating
Posted July 12, 2013 by Saanvi , JacksonvilleThis was touted as a mystery but it is anything but. The mystery of who killed the dog in the night is solved without ceremony in the first half of the book and then things turn incredibly tedious. OCD and Asperger's do not make for a world wind tour of London or Sherlock Holmes styled mystery solving. This book was irritating in its style.
2 . Curious
Posted July 09, 2013 by Kera , AtlantaI liked how the chapters were cleverly arranged by prime numbers, but I just found nothing interesting in the tale. The voice of the narrator was grating as opposed to likeable or engaging.
3 . Couldn't put the book down
Posted January 20, 2010 by ldev , FargoThis is a different, fresh read. Once I started, I couldn't put the book down - I finished it in 2 days. It's about a autistic 15-year old boy solving the murder of a neighbor's dog. Sounds simple - and it could be read very simply, but then you'd be missing so much. There is richness in the lack of emotion of the boy's voice. This book is probably not for everyone, but for me, it was a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking read.
4 . Ok. skipped a lot of pages.
Posted January 12, 2010 by lauren , miamiThis book is interesting, not sure if I would recomend it or not. Its alright when the character is not babbling on about complete nonsense, hence why I skipped a lot of pages, but I did want to know how it would end. I think it would be worth it to read for maybe 5 dollars versus almost 13.
May 17, 2004
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Excerpt from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.
I went through Mrs Shears' gate, closing it behind me. I walked onto her lawn and knelt beside the dog. I put my hand on the muzzle of the dog. It was still warm.
The dog was called Wellington. It belonged to Mrs Shears who was our friend. She lived on the opposite side of the road, two houses to the left.
Wellington was a poodle. Not one of the small poodles that have hairstyles but a big poodle. It had curly black fur, but when you got close you could see that the skin underneath the fur was a very pale yellow, like chicken.
I stroked Wellington and wondered who had killed him, and why.
My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057.
Eight years ago, when I first met Siobhan, she showed me this picture
and I knew that it meant 'sad,' which is what I felt when I found the dead dog.
Then she showed me this picture
and I knew that it meant 'happy', like when I'm reading about the Apollo space missions, or when I am still awake at 3 am or 4 am in the morning and I can walk up and down the street and pretend that I am the only person in the whole world.
Then she drew some other pictures
[various happy, sad, confused, surprised faces]
but I was unable to say what these meant.
I got Siobhan to draw lots of these faces and then write down next to them exactly what they meant. I kept the piece the piece of paper in my pocket and took it out when I didn't understand what someone was saying. But it was very difficult to decide which of the diagrams was most like the face they were making because people's faces move very quickly.
When I told Siobhan that I was doing this, she got out a pencil and another piece of paper and said it probably made people feel very
and then she laughed. So I tore the original piece of paper up and threw it away. And Siobhan apologised. And now if I don't know what someone is saying I ask them what they mean or I walk away.
I pulled the fork out of the dog and lifted him into my arms and hugged him. He was leaking blood from the fork-holes.
I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.
I had been hugging the dog for 4 minutes when I heard screaming. I looked up and saw Mrs Shears running towards me from the patio. She was wearing pyjamas and a housecoat. Her toenails were painted bright pink and she had no shoes on.
She was shouting, 'What in fuck's name have you done to my dog?'.
I do not like people shouting at me. It makes me scared that they are going to hit me or touch me and I do not know what is going to happen.
'Let go of the dog,' she shouted. 'Let go of the fucking dog for Christ's sake.'
I put the dog down on the lawn and moved back 2 metres.
She bent down. I thought she was going to pick the dog up herself, but she didn't. Perhaps she noticed how much blood there was and didn't want to get dirty.