The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon's small, tight, poignant novel is certainly a good read. It's narrator is 15-year old, mentally challenged kid Christopher Boone. The story revolves around the mysterious murdered dog of a neighbor and how Christopher's attempt to solve the murder mystery leads him to other (unpleasant) discoveries that threaten to ruin his life.

Haddon's strong characterization of the boy and judgemental portrayel of the post-modern adult life and its inherent flaws through the eyes of a mentally challenged (or autistic, it is never quite specified) is vivid and logical. Haddon's Christopher, the boy with special needs, is the only logical character and adults around him seem inefficient at best and completely unresaonable at worst.

Christopher's world is black & white. Crystal clear. Mathematical. He is oblivious to nuance and  does not deal in false currencies. He loves math and loves Sherlock Homes. He  His approach is so precise, so defined that he is a complete misfit. Haddon is clearly proclaiming that perfectly logical behavior can only be attributed to someone who will be perceived as...well, an idiot. 

And this brings me to Prince Myshkin. How Dostoevsky's Idiot lives through the ages and resurfaces in various different ways. The recurrence of 'Crime and Punishment' themes in modern entertainment is overwhelming but 'The Idiot' themed entertainment isn't far behind. The more I read the more amazing Dostoevsky's work becomes to me.

Also, Haddon's novel will have a different appeal for parents, specially new parents. Taking care of your children is clearly a task rendered excruciatingly difficult by the demands of post-modern life. Working parents, distractions, blackberrys and so on. While Haddon doesn't hammer on this and is generally sympathetic to the adults, it is hard for a parent to not cringe with guilt, earned or not.

Through "Curious incident..." Haddon cleverly disguises what is essentially the hardest possible thing for a parent to do (dealing with a child with special needs) into a poignant yet funny, touching and ultimately entertaining tale.