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The Red House: A Novel | [Mark Haddon]

The Red House: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

2.9 (72 )
5 star
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Overall
2.8 (58 )
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Story
3.3 (59 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Sheryl Fallbrook, CA, United States 07-03-12
    Sheryl Fallbrook, CA, United States 07-03-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    3
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    "Great Listen but not for everyone."

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Atlanta, GA, United States 01-11-13
    Melissa Atlanta, GA, United States 01-11-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
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    Story
    "Have to weigh in on this one...."

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fernhill Glenview, IL, United States 07-22-12
    Fernhill Glenview, IL, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2012

    cjddmunro

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    5
    1
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    3
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    Story
    "Beautifully narrated, very touching story"
    Do you have any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Hermosa Beach, CA, United States 08-24-12
    Beverly Hermosa Beach, CA, United States 08-24-12

    bella jackson

    HELPFUL VOTES
    327
    ratings
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    1558
    47
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    7
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    "Truly Disappointed with this new Haddon"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    doroorothy 07-27-12
    doroorothy 07-27-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    166
    7
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    1
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    Story
    "expected more"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    poorly read- confusing since the character speaking is not annouunced


    What aspect of Maxwell Caulfield’s performance would you have changed?

    introduce characters or at least alternate voices


    Was The Red House worth the listening time?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Deen Upper Peninsula, MI 06-16-13
    Mary Deen Upper Peninsula, MI 06-16-13 Member Since 2007

    snowed under

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    167
    5
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    0
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    "Disapointing"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JuliaRose NY 05-28-13
    JuliaRose NY 05-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Juliarose

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Buyer Beware!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie 02-13-13
    Susie 02-13-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Disappointment from Mark Haddon"
    Would you try another book from Mark Haddon and/or Maxwell Caulfield?

    Yes, sure.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Legend, by Marie Lu


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Maxwell Caulfield?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Red House?

    I really disliked the whole story - not one character was likable, and the story didn't hold my interest.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rosemary Los Angeles, US, Canada 01-07-13
    rosemary Los Angeles, US, Canada 01-07-13 Member Since 2010

    roscka

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    11
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    "A Vacation House not Worth Visiting"

    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....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isabel 08-20-12
    Isabel 08-20-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Where does The Red House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is my first audio book and it was an excellent experience.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way it was written and performed.


    Which character – as performed by Maxwell Caulfield – was your favorite?

    They were all excellent.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was touching and had good insights into the characters behaviours.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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