The most keenly awaited book of the year – the brilliant new novel by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
George Hall doesn’t understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. ‘The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.’ Some things in life, however, cannot be ignored.
At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family is not pleased – as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has ‘strangler’s hands’. Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the wonderful way he has with her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by all the planning and arguing the wedding has occasioned, which get in the way of her quite fulfilling late-life affair with one of her husband’s former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.
Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.
The way these damaged people fall apart – and come together – as a family is the true subject of Mark Haddon’s disturbing yet very funny portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.Author Profile
Mark Haddon is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. His poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea
was published by Picador in 2005. Mark Haddon lives in Oxford.Reviews
Wry, warm-hearted and entertaining,Succinct chapters, replete with horror, humour and the minutiae of everyday life,A painful, funny, humane, novel: beautifully written, addictively readable and so confident,Amusing and brisk and charming,A delightfully dry comedy,This is a masterful novel in which Haddon has surpassed his previous achievement. He pulls off the extraordinary trick of being simultaneously riotously funny, profoundly insightful and deeply poignant… Painted on a small canvas, Haddon has written beautifully about the messiness of life with a poise and grit that few novelists truly possess. Fans of Curious Incident
can rest assured that they won’t be disappointed,Haddon’s style is a reader’s bliss. He writes seamless prose. The words are melted into meaning… Haddon’s gift is to make us look at ourselves when we think we’re looking away, being entertained,An antidote to cynicism…. Haddon floats insights – sculpted, delicate and precise as origami – on currents of offbeat wit… you don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the waywardness of the human spirit, you are salved by the compassion and humour of the tale. The delight is in the detail,It has already been repeat-snubbed by this year's Man Booker judges. They've made a mistake. A Spot of Bother
may be a novel about a humdrum family living in Peterborough, told in the third person this time, in deliberately ordinary language. Yet there is more real linguistic artistry, not to mention human empathy, at work, here than in all those poetic prosemongers, the Ondaatjes and the Banvilles... A Spot of Bother
is a novel of minor incidents but it tackles big problems