Although this novel had been recommended to me a couple of years back, I had not felt that inclined to read it. However, earlier this week I fancied an “easy read” and spotted this on the shelf so decided to give it a try. The  book is written by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy with autism, who, inspired by Sherlock Holmes stories, sets out to write an account of his detective work as he tries to solve a local mystery: who killed Wellington, his neighbour’s dog.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Christopher is very definite about what he likes (maths, timetables, his pet rat, etc.) and what he doesn’t like (the colours yellow and brown, new situations, being touched, going to France, etc.) and interspersed with the chapters which give an account of the detective story plot, we have chapters which do not relate directly to the Wellington question, but are rather snapshots of Christopher’s life and what interests him. So, for example, we have odd chapters devoted to some of his favourite maths puzzles and others which describe his school.

This book certainly is unique. It gives an insight into the unique way that Christopher views his world, including his idiosyncratic use of language, but it is also unique in its presentation: the way that the chapters are numbered solely using prime numbers and the frequent use of non-linguistic devices (diagrams, sketches, maths equations, etc.) to convey information. A curious read indeed.

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