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The Resource The red house : a novel, Mark Haddon

The red house : a novel, Mark Haddon

Label
The red house : a novel
Title
The red house
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Mark Haddon
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
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. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over
Writing style
Review
  • Shortly after their mother’s death, wealthy doctor Richard invites his estranged sister and her family to accompany him on holiday in the Welsh countryside with his new wife and teenage stepdaughter. Angela, a teacher grieving in a much less clinical fashion than her brother, convinces her husband and their three children to come on the premise that it’s the best, or only, vacation they can afford, and so begins the novel’s seven-day drama—each relative descending on the country manse with an obligation either to invite another or to attend on another’s behalf. Haddon instantly engages the reader with his comically intimate portrayals of realistic and knowable, though by and large not wholly likable, characters; and for a week, familial alliances are made and broken enough for a 100-years’ war against the brooding, pluvial backdrop. The book’s ambition is perhaps greater than the ends it achieves—although comfortably paced and plotted, the frenetic changes in narrator are often disorienting—but the very many fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003) will be thrilled to see Haddon on shelves anew. -- Bostrom, Annie (Reviewed 05-01-2012) (Booklist, vol 108, number 17, p80)
  • Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) sets his sights on the modern social novel with a seriously dysfunctional family. Radiologist Richard, newly remarried to Louisa, who has something of a “footballer’s wife” about her, hosts his resentful sister Angela and her family at his vacation home in the English countryside for the week. Both Richard’s new wife, and her cold-blooded 16-year-old daughter, Melissa, arouse the attentions of Angela’s teenage children: son Alex, and daughter Daisy, whose sexual curiosity might lead her to trouble. Angela’s uninterested husband, Dominic; their youngest son, Benjy; and the lurking ghost of their stillborn child round out the family. But most of all there’s the universe of media—from books and iPods to DVDs and video games—that fortifies everyone’s private world; intrudes upon a week of misadventures, grudges, and unearthed secrets; and illuminates Haddon’s busy approach to fairly sedate material, a choice that unfortunately makes the payoffs seldom worth the pages of scattershot perspective. Characters are well-drawn (especially regarding the marital tensions lurking below facades of relative bliss), but what emerges is typical without being revelatory, familiar without becoming painfully human. The tiresomely quirky Haddon misses the epochal timbre that Jonathan Franzen hit with Freedom, and his constantly distracted novel is rarely more than a distraction itself. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander. (June 19) --Staff (Reviewed February 27, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 09, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Wealthy doctor Richard, having recently married trophy wife Louisa and inherited a teenage stepdaughter, the classically disaffected, aggressive Melissa, is feeling bad about his estrangement from sister Angela, particularly after Mum's death. So he invites Angela and her family—husband Dominic and three children—for a holiday at a rented house on the Welsh border. Could anything sound more grim and humdrum, not simply for the vacationers but for the reader? In fact, in the capable hands of British author Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ), this is a stunning and absorbing read. The not unexpected happens—Richard and Angela scrap over who fared better in childhood; Angela's older son, Alex, struggles to shrug off teen dopiness and get it on with Melissa; misfit daughter Daisy, in a devout Christian phase, comes to a shattering new personal place; feckless Dominic's sins are revealed; and Benjy, still unplugged from adult tensions, plays Batman. VERDICT Refreshingly, Haddon takes the risk of making the ordinary extraordinary and succeeds; each character is poignantly real and each small trauma a revelation. And the language! Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/12/11.]— Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed March 15, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 05, p102)
  • /* Starred Review */ A familiar premise inspires surprising and deeply moving results, fulfilling the British novelist's considerable promise. Haddon became a literary sensation with his debut (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 2003), a critical and commercial success which relied for effect on a tricky narrative perspective--a protagonist who was not only unreliable, but autistic. He then succumbed to a severe case of sophomore jinx with A Spot of Bother (2006), a novel that suggested that the debut was the only gimmick that Haddon had in him. What surprises about his third novel is that it's not only his best, it's his most conventional, at least in terms of the plot. Following the death of their mother, a brother and sister, who hadn't maintained much contact and had felt some estrangement, bring their families together for a weeks' vacation. With a spirit that evokes A Midsummer Night's Dream (to which one of the characters compares this idyll), the setup ensures that there will be revelations, twists and shifts in the family dynamic. Angela has three children whom she loves (all detailed richly and empathically), a husband she tolerates, and the memory of a stillborn daughter whom she still mourns (18 years later). Richard, a wealthier doctor who has arranged this family reunion with his sister, has a younger second wife, a career crisis, and a stepdaughter who is as mean-spirited as she is attractive. Where similar novels often devote whole chapters to the perspective of a character, this one shifts perspective with every paragraph, sustaining suspense (sometimes as to whose mind the paragraph reflects) while enriching the developing relationships among people who barely know each other, in a place where "the normal rules had been temporarily suspended." There will be flirting across generations and gender, sexual orientations discovered and revealed, and deep secrets unearthed. "What strangers we are to ourselves," muses one character, "changed in the twinkling of an eye." Yet the plot feels organic rather than contrived, the characters convincing throughout, the tone compassionate and the writing wise. A novel to savor.(Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10078847
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1962-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Haddon, Mark
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6058.A26
LC item number
R43 2012
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Families
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Rich people
  • Family vacations
  • England
Target audience
adult
Label
The red house : a novel, Mark Haddon
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"Originally published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape Ltd."--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
264 pages
Isbn
9780385535779
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2011029883
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 745609608
  • (OCoLC)745609608
Label
The red house : a novel, Mark Haddon
Publication
Copyright
Note
"Originally published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape Ltd."--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
264 pages
Isbn
9780385535779
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2011029883
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 745609608
  • (OCoLC)745609608

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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