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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A Novel

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.

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.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1090
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    7 - 9

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One 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.

    3

    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

    [sad face]

    and I knew that it meant 'sad,' which is what I felt when I found the dead dog.

    Then she showed me this picture

    [smiley face]

    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

    [confused face]

    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.

    5

    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...
About the Author-
  • Mark Haddon is a writer and illustrator of numerous award-winning children's books and television screenplays. As a young man, Haddon worked with autistic individuals. He teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and lives in Oxford, England.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 7, 2003
    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. (June 17)Forecast:Considerable buzz abroad—rights sold in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.—and a film deal (rights bought by Hey Day, the makers of
    Harry Potter) augur well for this engaging debut.

  • The Boston Globe

    "Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent."

  • Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Moving. . . . Think of The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher in the Rye and one of Oliver Sacks's real-life stories."
  • The Dallas Morning News "This is an amazing novel. An amazing book."
  • Ian McEwan, author of Atonement "A superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy."
  • Oliver Sacks "Brilliant. . . . Delightful. . . . Very moving, very plausible--and very funny."
  • Newsday "Superb. . . . Bits of wisdom fairly leap off the page."
  • Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review "Disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect. . . . As suspenseful and harrowing as anything in Conan Doyle."
  • Financial Times, London "Extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny. . . . It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book."
  • The Washington Post "Both clever and observant."
  • People "Full of whimsical surprises and tender humor."
  • New York Daily News "[Haddon] illuminates a core of suffering through the narrowly focused insights of a boy who hasn't the words to describe emotional pain."
  • The Independent "Outstanding. . . . A stunningly good read."
  • Time Out New York "Engrossing . . . flawlessly imagined and deeply affecting."
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram "A remarkable book from a writer with very special talent."
  • Detroit Free Press "The Curious Incident is the rare book that repays reading twice in quick succession."
  • The Daily Telegraph "Heart-in-the-mouth stuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero."
  • The New Yorker "This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy."
  • Entertainment W "Haddon's book illuminates the way one mind works so precisely, so humanely, that it reads like both an acutely observed case study and an artful exploration of a different 'mystery': the thoughts and feeling we share even with those very different from us."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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A Novel
Mark Haddon
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