The Red House

The Red House

A Novel

Book - 2012
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A dazzlingly inventive novel about modern family, from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time .
The set up of Mark Haddon's brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. All eight arrive with low expectations for a pleasant holiday.
But because of Haddon's extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt.
The Red House is a literary tour-de-force that illuminates the puzzle of family in a profoundly empathetic manner--a novel sure to entrance the millions of readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time .
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 2012.
ISBN: 9780385676922
Characteristics: 264 p. ;,25 cm.


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Jul 26, 2019

Awful...I only got about 20 pages into it. Boring and offensive. Trying too hard and failing miserably.

bookishdl Mar 09, 2015

Disappointing despite the premise. Too much switching around between characters which became annoying. I really loved Curious Incident and Spot of Bother and to be fair, the author does provide insightful views but it just didn't work for me. All the characters were pretty loathesome and I just wanted to finish the book without really caring what happened to them. All in all, a huge let down.

hdavi Nov 15, 2012

"A Spot of Bother" is one of my favourite books so I was excited to read this... but I never made it past the first 20 pages it was so annoying! And I'm a person who has to finish any book or movie that I start! Horrible choppy writing, skipping from character to character...

Oct 13, 2012

Mark Haddon is a very inventive writer, so it's to be expected that his books will not all follow the same path. Red House is as unique as his first book, but in a different way. That being said, although this book was written through several different viewpoints, which some readers felt was confusing at times, I found it an excellent read and didn't have a problem following the thoughts and dreams of the various characters. In fact, I had trouble putting it down and getting on with the rest of my life!

Nicole21 Sep 29, 2012

This was my first Mark Haddon book and it was such a huge let down. Its all over the place and nothing but a big messy soup. I am an avid reader and I was lost more than I was found. There are complete pages of two word sentences ( tho I beg to differ ) that were meant to decribe I guess. It was just choppy and horribly done.

Yes it does follow the very unhappy lives of two families but to be honest I never felt compassion orany feeling. They were not the nicest people.

I would NOT refer anyone to this book. BLAH!

carrilis Sep 23, 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Haddon's other two books that I've read, both A Spot of Bother and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime had me captivated right from the start. This book, however, was difficult to follow and didn't have the same element of storytelling that the other two did. This one is told from the perspective of 8 different family members and is very hard to follow. Their thoughts are incomplete and scattered. It may be how people actually think and even speak, but reading that is quite difficult when trying to follow a story.

ksoles Sep 11, 2012

In Mark Haddon's newest novel, eight family members who all carry secrets, longings and resentments spend a week together near "the fine sandy beaches of Herefordshire." This uncomfortable mix includes the prosperous but career-stressed Richard; his vulnerable and sensitive wife, Louisa; Louisa's sharp-edged, sarcastic teenager, Melissa; Richard's sister, Angela, who still mourns the loss of her stillborn baby eighteen years earlier, eats for comfort, and worries that she will eventually become demented like her mother; Angela's husband, Dominic, embroiled in an affair with a much younger woman; and their three children: hormonal Alex, religious Daisy and nervous Benjy.

"The Red House" reads like a dour exploration of family dysfunction in which the author interweaves symbolism with his characters' inner thoughts and dialogue. Each new paragraph contains the stream-of-consciousness of a different voice, causing the writing to seem pretentious, confusing and, at times, bizarre. Haddon does interest the reader enough to wonder whether the vacation will lead to anguish or solace and he does effectively show how constant attacks by loved ones lead to defenselessness.

The story desperately needs a dose of the witty humour that characterized "The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime" and "A Spot of Bother." Without it, "The Red House"'s forced, artificial feel makes the book seem much longer than it actually is.

Aug 18, 2012

I read this book because I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time before and really enjoyed it.

This book is very different, and the style of writing - mostly in short paragraphs that jump from character to character without warning - was a little difficult to get used to. However, I did enjoy the book and the story was engaging.

NLC4321 Aug 15, 2012

Disappointing... Didn't really like it much.

booklady413 Jul 15, 2012

This is my first book by Mark Haddon, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is definitley on my "to read" list. The book is about an estranged brother and sister and their familes spending a week at a summer house together. Using alternating voices, Haddon delves deeply into family relationships. His character devleopment is excellent and sort of reminds me of Anita Brookner.

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