Mark Haddon (no significant spoillers)

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Sun Feb 15 22:43:38 EST 2004

--- minnow at wrote:
> A couple of weeks ago Charlie and Jon were more or
> less in agreement about
> thinking *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the
> Night-Time* was
> Charlie:
> >> very well done, very clever, very engaging.
> and Jon:
> >I found it a very easy read
> (snip)
> quite interested in the idea of building a
> bread-oven.

If you want to practice, my daughter would love one,
she loves making bread.
(snip)  And
> I was reminded of "Flowers for Algernon", slightly,
> but without the
> appalling, tragic and wonderful point that story had
> to make.

I agree that Flowers for A. was far more successful as
a novel. I always regarded Haddon's book as an
exercise in attempting to describe the point of view
of someone suffering a specific medical condition.
Asperger's Syndrome I assume, although iirc the book
never specifies.

> [1]Oh, and a near-certainty that if this book gives
> a fair picture of a
> form of autism, if Nikola Tesla wasn't classified as
> autistic it was only
> because the term hadn't been invented in time
> (autism doesn't get listed in
> any of the dictionaries in this house pre-dating
> 1988, a bit late for
> Tesla).  As it was they simply called him
> "eccentric", I think.

My dictionary lists the origin of the term as 1912. I
know that I was vaguely aware of the condition back in
the early 1960s as the son of family friends, a boy
about my age, suffered from it. I was not aware there
was anything "odd" about him but suddenly he wasn't
there any more (he'd gone into care). 
I have, at school, two autobiographies of  autistic
people; Donna Williams "Nobody Nowhere" and Kenneth
Hall "Asperger Syndrome, the universe and Everything".
The latter comes closest to Haddon's character. (the
other I've only skimmed through but she seems far more
articulate than Haddon's character)


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