The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon,

Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book description

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective,…

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Why read it?

16 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

"This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them. This is a murder mystery," the young narrator tells us. It begins with a brutal death by stabbing; fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is arrested for killing Wellington, the neighbor’s poodle. Normally I don’t read murder mysteries. I don’t really care who done it – after all, the author holds all the cards and sets up the clues. Mark Haddon’s mystery is different. True, the author holds all the cards, but he tells the story through an Asperger/autistic teenager. I am…

This novel has been turned into a stage play, and both formats have helped the general public to understand the experience of what it is like to grow up as autistic. Although it is fiction, it conveys how an autistic teenager can feel on the margins, experience a sense of detachment, and see the world differently from other people. It brings out the disabilities that are part of autism, such as difficulties in social relationships and sensory overload. And it brings out the strengths that are part of autism, such as remarkable attention to and memory for detail, a narrow,…

From Simon's list on exploring the human mind.

This crime mystery stands out as a favourite not only because it's unique in being told through the voice of a 15-year-old boy who it's assumed is autistic, but because the entire form of the novel is convincingly shaped by the way Christopher thinks and perceives the world. I love the way that maps, infographics, facts, and even the use of primary numbers as chapter headings, help us understand and appreciate his character at the same time as propelling the story forward. I was totally won over by the logic and honesty of a boy who struggles to understand emotions…

Mark Haddon’s 2003 global best-seller took the reader into the mind of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with what would now be called autistic spectrum disorder. The crime is the murder of a neighbour’s dog, and in seeking to unlock who could have fatally speared Wellington with a garden fork, Christopher embarks on a journey that unlocks many family secrets and helps him make sense of his world. It’s an original, witty, and moving insight into other ways of thinking and seeing the world, and a reminder of why kindness and understanding are so needed in our busy world.   

Perhaps you think I’m playing fast and loose with my final recommendation. Perhaps you sense that this is my favorite book, and I’m finding any cause for inclusion. You’d be correct and incorrect. “Holocaust” means "burnt whole,” after all (In Greek; few people know this), and there isn’t a part of the character’s life that isn’t. His mind is of a non-mainstream state, his mother is dead, and a neighborhood dog has been murdered. Things only get worse as more is revealed. Christopher triumphs, however, with the most self-affirming and powerful closing statement of any book I’ve ever read. The…

I love the quirkiness of Haddon’s protagonist, Christopher, and how Haddon enables the reader to experience what Christopher is feeling and thinking. Christopher is “different,” and he is endearing because of that: one who is sensitive, heartbreakingly sweet, wiser than the average bear, and an example of how we can work through our problems by embracing our uniqueness. But there is nothing heavy-handed or didactic in this novel. Christopher’s story is treated with humor and optimism, not only for Christopher’s future, but for all of us. Who among us isn’t different?  

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a stunning look inside the head of a fifteen-year-old who refers to himself as “a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties.” By choosing a neurodiverse narrator, Haddon delivered a completely unique voice. Although the narrator could be seen as “on the spectrum,” or as having “High-functioning autism,” but he is never described this way or labeled in any way, and that is part of the brilliance of the book. We come to see that this story is about an outsider’s view of the world. We can never really see through another's…

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has ASD (autism spectrum disorder). This is never stated, but it comes out in his behaviour. He relates better to animals than humans, so when his neighbour’s dog is found murdered he decides he has to solve the mystery. But his probing uncovers a lot more than just who killed the dog. It unravels a lot of family secrets that his parents had kept from him. This story is funny and moving, but most importantly it gives a window into the challenges someone with ASD faces, as well as the toll it can take on family members.


From Gina's list on heroes who have a disability.

It’s about an autistic boy trying to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog and discovers wild truths about himself and the world. He loves animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched, and he hates yellow. I liked Christopher and his unique view on life. Somehow, the author makes Christopher’s little world an incredibly interesting and thrilling place to be.

I recommend this book because it takes you on a unique detective-like adventure where you’re dying to know how Christopher navigates the real world with such unique qualities.

The story is heart-warming, educating,…

From Christopher's list on middle-grade stories with paranormal activity.

As a long-time fan of detective fiction and Sherlock Holmes, it was the title of this novel that first caught my interest. Once I started reading the book, the narrator’s distinct voice grabbed me and didn’t let me go. The honest first-person voice of a 15-year-old boy who, while never described as such, is presumed to be on the spectrum, took me on a journey into the character’s mind and thinking. Seeing the world, his challenges, and choices through his eyes allowed me a small insight into the life of those with autism. The novel was at times funny, intriguing…

From Cookie's list on a unique narrator perspective.

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