The Red House is 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. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.
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. As we come to know each character they become profoundly real to us. We understand them, even as we come to realize they will never fully understand each other, which is the tragicomedy of every family.
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 fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
©2012 Mark Haddon (P)2012 Random House Audio
Having read most of the previous reviews of Audible listerners, which range widely, I feel compelled to add my view. Haddon shows in this book an uncannily billiant talent for writing about families' inner workings, most of which never see the light of day, but instead go on in our heads, contributing to all the unfair assumptions and misunderstandings that arise among family members. Each of the characters in The Red House is a very real, flawed (that is, recognizable) human being, and I marvelled at the way the author gave life to them, made each of them likable and unlikeable at the same time, made me ache for them and shout in frustration at them, and ultimately reached a credible ending that doesn't tie up all the loose ends, much like real life. Haddon is equally adept at giving voice to the private thoughts of a middle-aged self-questioning doctor with no children of his own and a teenage girl who is feeling alienated and confused about her own identity. Yes, his style is a tad inaccessible at times (he loves lists...for example, of the various items for sale in a second-hand store -- not sure what the point there was), and I wished the narrator had taken longer pauses to mark the sometimes unexpected switches between one character's perspective and another, so I could catch up with him; however, the tone and pace of the book felt much like I imagine a week in the country, thrown together with a lot of relatives one hasn't seen in a long time, would feel -- the disconnectedness, the boredom, the insecurity, the sense that you have to accomplish something before the week is over, and the occasional moments of love and understanding. If you like to escape into novels, this may not be the best book for you, but if you appreciate writers who can bring the real world, with all of its imperfections, to you in achingly poignant prose and have you nodding your head in recognition, then I highly recommend The Red House. I'm very glad I listened to it.
Done partially in a stream-of-consciousness style, including fragments of poems, I initially
worried that listening to this book was not the greatest way to
experience it. But it quickly became part of a coherent whole for me
and I really loved the book. The story of two related families on
holiday in the Welsh countryside and the permutations of
their relationships with each other and their own internal struggles is
done with complexity and great empathy. As with The Curious Incident of the
Dog in the Nightime, the author has great sympathy for
all the characters. Terrific narration.
Really good but nothing like "Dog" so reset expectations. This is harder to follow with many characters appearing right at the start. It takes a bit of focus to understand who, what, where. If you are okay with a confusing start, it is well worth your time.
Great fan of Curious Dog and A Spot of Bother had me rolling in the floor and crying at the same time. Red house missed the mark- the characters were unlikeable and rather whiny. I really can't recommend this one but don't miss the first two.
poorly read- confusing since the character speaking is not annouunced
introduce characters or at least alternate voices
based on his first book, i was excited to listen to this one. i was quite dissapointed and didn't finish listening due to confusing monotonic recitation of the story
I was so excited to find this book after reading The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nightime. I expected the same ingrossing read, but it just wasn't there for me. I was so bored by the characters that I couldn't finish listening to the book. It might have gotten better, but I had better books to listen to, so I did.
I adore Mark Haddon but this book was a huge miss. The story line was excellent- and I wanted to absorb myself in his characters and the story surrounding each individually and together as a dysfunctional family. But his constant interruption with random snippets of what the character was reading, or lyrics to a song they were listening to, did not work in any literary sense. It was beyond annoying, it threw me off as soon as I got into the book, and it nearly made me stop listening. The last hour of the book had less of these moments than the rest of the book and it was my favorite hour by far. Good idea in theory, but in the end it ruined the entire book for me. Sad to say...it could have been a great book without it.
Legend, by Marie Lu
I really disliked the whole story - not one character was likable, and the story didn't hold my interest.
This novel was a major let-down. I really enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time, and this novel had none of the same originality, spark, and vitality.
I chose this book because I really felt that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was excellent. I was excited to see Mark Haddon had written another book, but this was a disappointment to me.
Is it just me???? I have had a very difficult time keeping track of who is who in this rambling, somewhat disjointed story~~ I don't mind a challenging book but I find it tiresome and tedious trying to keep in my memory which character is which...maybe there is just a few too many characters....
This is my first audio book and it was an excellent experience.
The way it was written and performed.
They were all excellent.
It was touching and had good insights into the characters behaviours.
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