Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, The
Mark Haddon has written a moving novel about love and bravery through the eyes of a British autistic boy. Christopher discovers his neighbor's poodle dead, impaled by a pitchfork, and, because he adores puzzles, he sets out to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington . But Christopher is autistic, a boy who doesn't like to be touched and cannot decipher emotions beyond the tools his teacher has taught him, and so the task requires the huge effort of testing rules and facing his own fears. A literalist by neurology, he deconstructs life into a set of mathematical equations and physical laws. This unique perspective makes him a good detective on one level, where clues and logic rule, but it also fails him on another, higher one because he cannot understand the magnitude of what he uncovers. That Haddon was able to write a book from Christopher's point of view with all his quirks and still make him lovable is extraordinary. By necessity, the writing is simple and unadorned, but the language of details elevates it from the mundane. The insertion of mathematical puzzles and drawings add to the reader's understanding of how Christopher's mind works. Haddon's real skill is an understatement that allows the reader to comprehend what is going on even if Christopher cannot. Although Christopher cannot grasp subtlety and nuances, the reader can, and that's where the true force of this exceptional novel lies.
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