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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099570165
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $26.99

The Red House

The most keenly awaited book of the year – the superb new novel by the author of A Spot of Bother and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Two families. Eight lives. One week. What could go wrong?

A week after their mother's funeral Angela receives a call from her brother Richard inviting her for a week's holiday in the Welsh borders. Families included. Angela and Richard had spent twenty years avoiding each other, and can't remember why. 'I'm not looking forward to it any more than you' she says to her husband. 'But I didn't have a great deal of choice.'

In the isolated valley, a semblance of holiday is quickly achieved – reading, exploring, alcohol – each family acting as a buffer for the other, a distraction from their own problems. But fissures soon appear. Dominic, an out of work musician, is wary of the wife he doesn't love any more. Richard is hoping that something will be resolved or mended or rediscovered over the few days, but his sister has an anger he can't fathom. The teenagers circle each other cautiously. Eight-year-old Benjy is more intent on throwing sheep poo.

Over the course of the week the eight must not only contend with each other but also the lives they have left behind – the actions and secrets that quietly invade the house and the holiday to devastating effect.

Narrated in turns by each character, The Red House is an extraordinary portrait of the complexities of family life, and of eight very different people coming together and falling apart over the course of a week.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099570165
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $26.99

About the Author

Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon is a writer and artist. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. In 2012, a stage adaptation by Simon Stephens was produced by the National Theatre and went on to win 7 Olivier Awards in 2013 and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. In 2005 his poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, was published by Picador, and his play, Polar Bears, was produced by the Donmar Warehouse in 2010. His most recent novel, The Red House, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. The Pier Falls, a collection of short stories, was also published by Cape in 2016. To commemorate the centenary of the Hogarth Press he wrote and illustrated a short story that appeared alongside Virginia Woolf's first story for the press in Two Stories (Hogarth, 2017).

Also by Mark Haddon

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Praise for The Red House

“Every bit as charmingly idiosyncratic as his brilliant The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror

“A hugely enjoyable, sympathetic novel...a tremendous pleasure...we have been absorbed, entertained and moved”

Kate Kellaway, Observer

“Mark Haddon is terrifyingly talented... The Red House is thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable entertainment”

Angus Clarke, The Times

“Shockingly well-observed, gut-wrenchingly familiar and even heartbreaking at times”


“A masterly evocation of two dysfunctional, yet outwardly respectable families”

Jane Clinton, Sunday Express

“With writing as elegant and truthful as this, readers will wish to keep their copies close at hand to savour again”

Michael Arditti, Daily Mail

“There are passages here to die for”

Christopher Bray, Daily Express

“Haddon has a true understanding of the human heart. Whether he is writing about the teenagers...or the adults and their misjudgements, he never puts a foot wrong. The Red House shows that Haddon is much more than a one-hit wonder: he is a real novelist, and he is here to stay”

Sophie Waugh, Spectator

“A bitingly honest tale of modern family life”

In Style

“It’s not every writer who can describe everyday domestic trauma with wit and without condescension. It’s a lot of fun to watch these midlife and adolescent crises come to the boil. And what shines is Haddon’s flair for observational comedy”

Anthony Cummins, Metro

“I read it twice, both times with enjoyment”

Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday

“Weaving the stories of wealthy Richard, his meek sister Angela and their families, he draws the strands together to a poignant conclusion”

Good Housekeeping

“As a fan of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time I was expecting this book to be special - and it was. A unique approach to family life and human relationships. Read it!”


“An astute and bittersweet comic novel”

Fanny Blake, Woman and Home

“Haddon writes superb books for children, teenagers and grown-ups, and gets every voice in this one dead right...a master craftsman”

Susan Jefferies, Irish Independent

“Honest and thought-provoking book”

The Economist

“Haddon achieves a remarkable mélange of streams of consciousness, snatches of books, music, TV, private thoughts, lists, letters, all intertwined with sharply observed vignettes of everyday banality, soaring flights of description”

Carol Birch, Guardian

“He is almost unrivalled at the notoriously tricky task of giving an authentic voice to children, and his ability to pinpoint the comic aspects of the everyday scenarios that arise on all vacations makes for an amusing read”

Sunday Times

“A beautiful object that will grace any holiday home's unfixably wobbly bedside table. The cover feels like a cracked china plate, decorated with a clever re-working of the willow-pattern; like the contents, it is subtle and clever. Haddon writes superb books for children, teenagers and grown-ups, and gets every voice in this one dead right. He is also a master craftsman, so this complicated narrative moves with the speed and certainty of released, unhappy holidaymakers hitting the homeward road. So shove this in your holidaying bag. You may have made a mistake with the booking, but you won't with the book.”

Susan Jeffreys, Independent

“Haddon has penetrating compassion for even his least prepossessing characters. He’s frequently acute about the details of speech, response and self-presentation that differentiate people, and particularly so about the weird co-existence in us all of animal instincts and higher yearnings: hunger with grief, physical pain with spiritual need, hot lust with the desire to connect. His characters – the whole befuddling gaggle of them – are unquestionably felt, and felt for, and even loved. Haddon has created a family whose problems feel warmly immediate and utterly contemporary.”

Hannah McGill, Scotland on Sunday

“CURL UP WITH…The Red House by Mark Haddon. An English family’s holiday – and the midlife and adolescent crises that erupt during it – is scrutinised from eight points of view in Mark Haddon’s warm and witty novel, which showcases his flair for observational comedy.”

Metro, Top Things to Do This Weekend

“Mark Haddon’s latest is his most mature work to date. It’s mature in terms of both content and style, and reading The Red House there’s a sense that this ‘growing up’ is quite purposely Haddon’s intention. An effortlessly engrossing and richly rewarding read.”

Miles Fielder, The List

“It's an old saying that you choose your friends but not your family and the family reunion has been well-used in literature, but Haddon breathes new life into it. He's never shied away from the difficult subjects and he deals sensitively with a child's burgeoning homosexuality but his real skill, his genius is in his understanding of mental problems, that disassociation between the mind and the brain. It's a book which is so right in every small detail but a gem when taken altogether.”

The Bookbag

“The book gave me the ever-changing, fascinating and the feeling that I was looking through a looking glass. The eight of them have their own secrets, longings and resentments which only make them as human as you and I. The writing zips in montages and sometimes it becomes difficult to figure who is carrying the baton, though once you get used to the writing, it isn’t difficult to figure. The language and symbolism is weaved very well for a story of a dysfunctional family. In some parts, it almost reminded me of Faulkner’s, “The Sound and the Fury”. The Red House by Mark Haddon is a rollercoaster of emotions and all it works surprisingly well and all adds up at the end of the book. I would definitely and most certainly recommend this read for the long summer weekend that comes up.”

The Hungry Reader

“Haddon can marry extraordinary perception with uncluttered language... He also burrows into the minds of his protagonists with astute precision”

Leyla Sanai, TLS

“It looks like Mark Haddon is about to have a great big success all over again”

David Sexton, Evening Standard

“Brilliantly readable… Comic and bittersweet”


“A closely observed domestic drama…”

Carol Birch, Guardian

“Characteristically original, deftly observed...”

Mail on Sunday

“A beautifully orchestrated novel that gently questions how we define success”

James Urquhart, Financial Times

“[Haddon] shows a knack for portraying family dynamics…”

Alastair Mabbott, Herald

“Mark Haddon proves himself a master of the domestic drama”

Big Issue in the North

“Gripping drama”

EasyJet Traveller

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