Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

I am passing through a curious phase in life. I can’t seem to finish any book I start to read. I seem to only have enough attentiveness to finish a short article. I can’t seem to enjoy most programmes on television. I seem to watch only reality shows (hmmph and enjoy them too) and the **Aastha channel. I can’t seem to like eating regular food anymore, such as rice for lunch and chapattis for dinner. I seem to want anything but rice and chapattis for lunch!! I also seem to have developed a hunger for films over which I devour many packets of my favorite onion-flavored potato chips from Lays. I can’t seem to enjoy my weekends at home anymore. I seem to have a compelling need to go out and explore. As though time is running out. Now, what kind of life crisis is this?!

Hmmm, today’s post is to record and remind myself that there are exceptions too. For instance, I actually finished one book I had started, in three consecutive days flat, with nap-
gaps in between, of course. The book that kept me glued to it is the “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” written by Mark Haddon. No, it is not a doggy tale, it is a mystery tale, rather. There is a dog but it gets killed in the very first page of the book. I don’t like fiction and films where dogs get killed which is why I did not pick up “Marley And Me” during my last trip to the bookstore and left watching the film based on it, mid-way. But, in this book I did not mind too much that the dog gets killed because it happens in the first page before I have formed attachment with the dog.

I would recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time to anyone who adores mysteries and thrillers. The story is about Christopher, an autistic boy gifted with a brand of intelligence quite different from the ordinary understanding of what “intelligence” comprises of. Christopher, inspired by Sherlock Holmes, his idol, gets involved in solving a mystery in unique style and while at it, discovers secrets about his own family that jar him in a peculiar way. This is where the mystery lies which you can find out if you read the book. The story is told in first person and this brings Christopher very close in the imagination of the reader besides speaking volumes about the brilliance of casting and composition of the author, Mark Haddon.

I think I hung on to the book – one, because of the mystery in it, two, because of the fantastic insights of an autistic person – about his own behavior and his observations about the behavior of “normal” people. And three, because of the skilled integration of mystery with insights into the mind of an autistic adolescent by the writer. Sample some parts of the book by clicking the images below for a larger view.

I hope you can read the book sometime.
**Speaking of the Aastha channel, I enjoy hearing some discourses telecast through the channel such as those of Brahmakumari Shivani and Baba Ramdev. I heard Baba Ramdev say something very interesting the other day. He was expounding upon how the Indian way of life has been envisioned to be fee from violence and as an example he spoke of the mechanism of the broomstick. Brooms as we know have gaps between each of its sticks. According to Baba Ramdev, gaps have been deliberately conceived so that small insects - including ants caught in them can scamper to safety. Quite profound!


Munchmany said...

Meera had also spoken about this book once. And now you. Must be surely worth a read.

These phases come and go. Dont dwell too much on them.

A Curved Line said...

I dont wonder that you want to spend your weekends out of the house after working from home all week. Whats not normal about that.

That thing abput broom sticks-er do you really believe the original designer of broom sticks thought about not trapping insects???

Twisted Factory said...

Ambrosia, good that you are coming back to normal. But isn't experiencing such phases in life normal too??
Even Meera was talking about this book sometime back. I have just finished reading a book.I cried a lot.I think I already mentioned in my earlier comment. By the way, the cat in my building has given birth to two pure white kittens and Shambhoo (dog) has adopted them. He takes care of them as if he is their father. Strange isn't??

You know what...even I've watched Brahmakumari Shivani's discourse on meditation. I love the way she speaks.

ambrosia said...

Thanks everyone for writing! :-)

@ Munchmany - Thank you for the reassurance :-) but not to worry, I was only seeking some attention ;-) Once in a while I do :-) Yeah, interesting book, never read anything like that before, best is, its fast-paced. I too had read Meera's blog on it and decided to try reading it myself.

@ Curved Line - Depends on how each person looks at different things - about how to look at what "normal" is, how to understand the philosophy of broomsticks, etc. All depends as I said. You will definitely look at everything with a lawyer’s perspective, which I will not, no matter what :-)

@ Twisted Factory – True, they are, and as I said I was just seeking some attention ;-) Maybe attention-seeing behavior is also a part of this phase! I think you mean “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. If that is what you mean, then I understand. I did not finish this book because I knew it would make me emotional too. I hope you can do a review when you have assembled your thoughts. Although there are lots of reviews available, yet it is always interesting to read what your friends think about a book, particularly.

Many times I have intended to ask you about Shambhoo, even when I was putting up pics of the dogs in my life :-), I thought about Shambhoo. Unfortunately, always forgot to ask you! So it is great that you mention him today! I got my answer without asking. I am overjoyed to hear that he has adopted two kittens!!!! How I wish I could see them right now! I wish you can take their pics and make a post on them! Btw, what about Mother Cat…. is she ok letting her bacchas being fathered by Shambhoo? Because Mother Cats are known to be extremely protective towards their kittens.

True, the lady is so articulate and says such nice things and has such a wonderfully positive aura – one can actually “feel” it even through the TV screen…. good to know that you love the way she speaks too!