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Publisher's Summary

From the bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and A Spot of Bother comes a superb book about family and secrets. Two families. Seven days. One house. Angela and her brother Richard have spent twenty years avoiding each other. Now, after the death of their mother, they bring their families together for a holiday in a rented house on the Welsh border.

Four adults and four children. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games and wet walks. But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours.

Once again Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and A Spot of Bother, has written a novel that is funny, poignant and deeply insightful about human lives.

©2012 Mark Haddon (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Claire
  • 01-31-14

Badly narrated

This book demanded a very competent narrater due the complex and almost poetic nature of the text. Unfortunately, Caufield is so bad I am contempleting returning the book.
I cannot believe Haddon has approved this and he should demand that it is re-narrated.

At least listen to the sample before you even consider buying.

Sorry!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • T
  • 11-13-14

"There's now't so queer as folk"

I enjoyed this wry insight into family life. Haddon gets inside people's thoughts - sometimes people like us, but also some that we might have met, but wish we hadn't. I guess he's best known for the thoughts of the autistic hero of The Curious Incident. The ground covered here is closer to "normality." That said, put a couple of buttoned-up English families into a holiday let in Herefordshire and quite a lot of autistic thoughts and behaviours can emerge. What we learn of the family members is by turns tragic, funny and occasionally moving.

It's a tricky book to narrate because there's a lot of dialogue, making it easy to miss-cue which character is speaking. Maxwell Caulfield takes a little longer than I would like to get into it - but don't be put off because overall he does a decent job. The book isn't as startlingly original as Curious Incident but is nonetheless a really good read which I preferred to his "Spot of Bother"

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • EGS
  • 03-02-15

Not what I hoped for.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It would have been better told as a straightforward narrative. The somewhat experimental format did not work for me, though I think it might have been easier to read than to listen to.

What was most disappointing about Mark Haddon’s story?

I found it very disjointed, just a series of short scenes, seemingly unconnected. There was often little indication of which characters were involved. It needed a proper narrative thread.

What didn’t you like about Maxwell Caulfield’s performance?

He didn't do anything to differentiate between the different characters. There were also some very odd pronunciations, and oddly phrased sentences. (Though I am aware it is easy to criticise and not so easy to do!)

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

I wouldn't cut, I would add a narrative voice to give continuity.

Any additional comments?

I really liked Mark Haddon's previous books, so this was a disappointment.

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  • lucinda
  • 12-04-14

Hmmm

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Quite a good book but I struggled to keep up with the number of characters

Would you ever listen to anything by Mark Haddon again?

Yes definitely, have loved other titles of mark haddon's including 'A Spot of Bother'

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

I Really can't remember, it was very hard to keep up with who was who, maybe they were too similar?

Do you think The Red House needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Probably not because I would struggle to pick the story up again

Any additional comments?

A good book but requires concentration