Bonnie Brody's Reviews > The Red House

The Red House by Mark Haddon
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

it was ok
Read in April, 2012

I was very fond of the novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and was looking forward to this novel by Mark Haddon. Unfortunately, this novel, The Red House, disappointed me greatly. The writing is very self-conscious and it is difficult to get a sense of the story which is obfuscated by the writing itself.

Basically, the story is about a brother and a sister who have been together only one time in fifteen years, at their mother's funeral. The brother, Richard, is a physician and quite wealthy. He has just remarried a woman with a child and has a sixteen year-old step-daughter. The sister, Angela, is married to a man named Dominic who thinks very little of her and at one point states, "She disgusted him now, the size and sag of her, the veins on her calves, almost a grandmother." Dominic and Angela have three children, two boys and a girl. Richard offers Angela and her family a vacation with him and his family and Angela agrees without consulting Dominic. Angela and Dominic can not afford a vacation.

The vacation is like those of many dysfunctional families. The style of the book has short pieces of writing told from different points of view. Generally, I was bored. The gist of the story is buried in language that has to be torn apart to find the essence of what it is all about.

I think that Mr. Haddon was trying to be poetic but fails in this novel. It actually takes away from what the story is about and does not make it poetic at all. I wish I could have said more complimentary things about this book but I truly wish I had not taken the time to read it.
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11/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Ariel I am at page 160 and bored to death.

Bonnie Brody It doesn't get any better so if I was you I'd stop there. Bonnie

Ariel I have a strange problem where once I begin a novel I have to finish it no matter what even if it is over the course of a year. Plus I got it as an ARC from the publisher so I feel I owe them to finish it so I can provide a complete review. They may not like the review though.

Bonnie Brody Ariel, I used to finish every book I started but now I think that time is too short. However, since you received this as an ARC, there is an unspoken obligation of sorts to read the whole book. Bonnie

Ariel I hope to be cured one day of my affliction. The good news is I have now made to page 217 so I am on the home stretch now. The bad news is you were right, it didn't get better.

KBev I wholeheartedly agree with your review! I am at page 180 & am finding it so hard to finish. It's just so confusing. It drives me crazy the number of times that he just says "he" or "she" and never actually names who it is that is being referred to. And it makes me really sad since I LOVED Curious Incident.

Bonnie Brody I loved Curious Incident of the Dog as well. Just goes to show that writers can be inconsistent. Bonnie

Ariel I just read an article in in Entertainment Weekly that praised the book. I just never align with the critics.

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