The curious incident of the dog in the night time

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					The curious incident of the dog in the night time Mark Haddon An Aspergers case study the following is just a few notes and not written out properly, sorry. Interesting View Point of an AS boy forcing the reader to see the world through his eyes hence not able to look directly at people's faces, obsessive behaviour with colour, obsessive with maths (not so with all AS), little empathy and little humour, keen observation. Maybe not that different from other intelligent people but not able to filter out unnecessary detail when describing – eg patterns on seats, numbers on lamp posts. Christopher set out to solve who killed the dog but although he says he achieved it he didn't really because his dad owned up to it and Christopher had falsely accused Mrs Shears. The plot is quite weak but the characters and unusual AS aspect make the book a unique read. He is not infallible in his descriptions eg wrong shape for Cumulo Nimbus clouds. I loved how Haddon made Christopher's lack of humour give the reader a laugh: AS kids do not understand what most people take for granted. Eg "Be quiet" but for how long? Keep off the Grass – what all grass and all of the time? Humour for the reader even though Christopher doesn't see it as funny. There is a logical error in his solution to the Monty Hall problem of the doors, goats and car. He appears to make the initial assumption of a known variable; since the position of where the goat isn’t is known. I believe Haddon didn’t know how to end the book – the fizzing out is rather weak. Going to live with his mother – father when she is ill. In an interview Haddon said the last sentence decides whether Christopher ends up being happy. How? He claims in it that he can do anything because he solved the mystery of who killed Wellington but he didn't: and he wrote a book, but says at the beginning he didn’t like fiction books because they were all lies! True. But Mark is a bit ingenious here since the concept is not a new one nor one originated by AS people – see Alex Keegan's 1988 work: "The Art of Telling Lies" Alex says "Fiction is lies. There is the Great Lie, the simple fact that the story is a story and not reportage. Fiction writers, therefore are liars -- and they have to be good ones."

It is interesting that the details – serial numbers of airfix kit; the reference numbers on lampposts – wouldn’t get past editors of normal fiction. The book is a fascinating read for writers, not for the weak plot and poor ending but for the way Haddon employed the VP of someone with an unusual view of life. Something we cannot do if we write from the VP of "normal" characters.

Geoff Nelder Geoff Nelder CEO
About A former teacher of Geography and Computer Science, I am now an editor for Adventure Books of Seattle, including its scifi magazine, Escape Velocity. I'm also a novelist.