The Red House by Mark Haddon

The Red House

Rating: 2/5

I really enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, so when I saw this book I was very eager to read it. I was severely disappointed as it was such a struggle for me to complete. This is the main reason why it has been over a week since my last review, I battled my way to the end of this book, and really couldn’t face writing a review for it.

The book is based around a two estranged siblings, and their families, getting together for a weeks holiday after their mother dies. The book is not only written as a stream of unconscious thought, but flicks between different points of view. Now, I love books that flick between different perspectives, however, countless times within this book I had to re-read the paragraph (or even chapter) to figure out who’s perceptive it was!  In addition to this frustration, all speech and thoughts were written in italics, with no differentiation between the two. I found this really confusing, and frequently had to read the last paragraph back to decipher what was said and by whom. These thoughts were also sometimes really random. And I don’t mean “I like that tree” random, but completely philosophical, nothing to do with the plot, out of place thoughts. For example:

“One person looks around and sees a universe created by a god who watches over its long unfurling, marking the fall of sparrows and listening to the prayers of his finest creation. Another person believes that life, in all its baroque complexity, is a chemical aberration that will briefly decorate the surface of a ball of rock spinning somewhere among a billion galaxies. And the two of them could talk for hours and find no great difference between one another, for neither set of beliefs make us kinder or wiser.”

Although these may be interesting the first few times, it ultimately became tedious and added to the confusion.

There’s no denying that the writing style is very clever, but for me, it didn’t work. Which is a shame, because I found that this really effected my enjoyment of the book, especially as the character’s dilemmas were all very interesting – including that the sister is getting memories of her deformed, stillborn baby, her husband is having and affair and the teenage girl is coming realise her sexual orientation which is conflicting to her religious beliefs. Although I found the characters dull to begin with, there was huge character development throughout to make it somewhat worthwhile.

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One thought on “The Red House by Mark Haddon

  1. Pingback: I’m sorry! Here are some reviews. | Tumbling into Wonderland

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