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A Spot of Bother: A Novel | [Mark Haddon]

A Spot of Bother: A Novel

At 61, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting remarried, to the deeply inappropriate Ray. Her family is not pleased and Katie can't decide if she loves Ray or loves the wonderful way he has with her son, Jacob. 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 ex-colleagues.
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Publisher's Summary

At 61, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting remarried, to the deeply inappropriate Ray. Her family is not pleased and Katie can't decide if she loves Ray or loves the wonderful way he has with her son, Jacob. 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 ex-colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life George and Jean's son, Jamie, has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.

A Spot of Bother is Mark Haddon's unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved best seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Here the madness, literally, of family life proves rich comic fodder for Haddon's crackling prose and bittersweet insights into misdirected love.

©2006 Mark Haddon; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"No bother at all, this comic follow-up to Haddon's blockbuster (and nicely selling book of poems) is great fun." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (324 )
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3.7 (70 )
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4.1 (71 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-21-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-21-13

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "DONT BOTHER WITH THIS SPOT!"

    I loved Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" about an autistic teen and his family. It was insightful and hard to put down. This book, however, is just a hot mess of too many people doing way too much, much of it immoral or just ridiculous! I couldn't finish it and was very disappointed.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthea Maryland, United States 04-18-08
    Matthea Maryland, United States 04-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun and poignant"

    I wasn't sure what to expect after listening to The Curious Incident, which I *loved*, but Harmon delivered on this one, too. Narrated from several characters' viewpoints, the listener gets inside a British family's joys and flaws, laughing and sympathizing the whole way through. When my iPod runs out of whatever's new in the car, I've returned to this story with pleasure. Enjoyable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodee Bloomingdale, MI, USA 10-02-07
    Jodee Bloomingdale, MI, USA 10-02-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    I laughed, I cried. Laughed more than cried. Rooted for each character, even though they had opposing goals. His first two books are wonderful, this one and the 'Curious Incident...'

    Not so heavyweight, but memorable and worthwhile. Even delightfully ironic you might argue, the cosy, matter-of-fact style versus the subject matter. It is easy to picture a masterpiece in Haddon's future.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 09-11-07
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 09-11-07 Member Since 2005

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

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    "Great"

    This is a wonderful book about a very flawed family and how they deal with each other and various catastrophes in their lives. I love love love the narrator. He is one of my favorites. At times very difficult to listen to, this book is very real. If you read The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night, this book is very differnt but still captures the utter humanity of each of these imperfect characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Corbett Mableton, GA USA 05-23-07
    Stephen Corbett Mableton, GA USA 05-23-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Disappointment"

    After "the curious incident", a book that I absolutely loved, I was greatly disappointed.
    I found this book to be wanting of a story line.
    There really was limited overall message/story that linked everything together

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David New York, NY, USA 09-29-06
    David New York, NY, USA 09-29-06 Member Since 2003
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    "Bother with this one"

    Bother with it. This very nicely written and excellently narrated novel details the events of yet another dysfunctional British family as the days peel away toward the matriarchal daughter's second wedding. The father, George, is rapidly deteriorating into a pleasantly numb malaise, while his wife sleeps with an ex-colleague, his gay son's relationship falls apart and his daughter veers away from then back to marriage.

    A good read with wonderful descriptions and details of this family's life. Oddly, the story occasionally drifts into nearly graphic sex, focusing mostly on Jamie's gay relationship. On the whole, however, full of laughs and pathos and insights. Read it, especially for the narrator's brilliant voice characterizations.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Pringle Washington, DC 10-06-06
    E. Pringle Washington, DC 10-06-06 Member Since 2001
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    "FAntastic!"

    What a delight of wonderful story, brilliant language, amazing narration. Not a wasted word or an unfilled moment of narration. When it all comes together like this I kinda want to weep for joy. Thank you!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Irving, TX, USA 09-22-06
    Michael Irving, TX, USA 09-22-06 Member Since 2006
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    "Wonderful"

    A delightful foray into the nature of family and love, and whether either is definable or teachable. Like his previous novel, you're left wondering how Mr. Haddon knows these things. Smashing fun.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy Mason Chicago, IL 09-16-06
    Peggy Mason Chicago, IL 09-16-06 Member Since 2006
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    "More please"

    This is a touching, funny, tender story of a British family's mental journey as they prepare for the daughter's wedding. The characters are rich, brilliantly described. The narrator is amazing. His reading of the young grandson is so spot-on that I laughed almost every time the young boy spoke. The only problem with this book is that it ends (although I thought the ending was perfect).

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary McKinney www.successfulacademic.com 01-17-11
    Mary McKinney www.successfulacademic.com 01-17-11 Member Since 2007

    Ph.D. Psychologist and Coach

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    "Wonderful Characters, Sweet Story"

    Although "A Spot of Bother" can't compare to Hadden's fabulous "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" it is still an entertaining and endearing story. This book reminds me a lot of the work of Nick Hornby with it's quirky British characters and laugh-out-loud details.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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