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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.

Reviews

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

Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror

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

Angus Clarke, The Times

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

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!

Essentials

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

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

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099570165

    May 1, 2013

    Vintage

    352 pages

    RRP $26.99

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook

    9781446496350

    May 10, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

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