Mark Haddon comes from a background of childrens books, which partly explains the simple, straightforward storytelling of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Yet the tone, and the clinical POV of its autistic protagonist allow for all sorts of adult ironies to make their way in. The novel starts off with a murder–of a next door neighbor’s dog–but it is Christopher’s desire to solve this parochial mystery that leads to the uncovering of secrets and real human pain–about his father’s life, his mother’s, and some of himself. Shades of Vonnegut-like distance and cartooning, but at heart a empathetic tale. Without the POV device, Haddon’s tale would be a depressing story of a developmentally disabled teenager and kitchen sink melodrama. But as it is, its revelations are heartbreaking, because they are played so objectively.
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