Book of the Week- 2/1/12

“The Red House: A Novel” (2012) by Mark Haddon is the Book of the Week.  This novel was recently added to the Purchase College Library’s Popular Collection.  You can find novels, biographies, bestsellers and great leisure reading on the Popular Collection shelves on the First Floor of the Library.

redhouse2 Barbaras Picks, Jun. 2012, Pt. 2: From Mark Haddon to ZoobiquityHere’s what Library Journal had to say about this new novel by best-selling author Mark Haddon:

Newly remarried and stuck with a headstrong stepdaughter, a wealthy doctor, Richard, tries to mend fences with sister Angela by inviting her family for a week’s stay at a vacation home in the English countryside… but the week serves up secrets and misunderstandings, relentless grudges and dashed dreams. In lesser hands, this could be dreary, but…the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time deliver[s] an insightful, delicately tuned, bittersweet account of the contemporary family.

While this teaser accurately sums up the plot, it misses one of the unique aspects of this book: its mixed narration.  Each member in Richard and Angela’s family gets a turn telling their story as the author deftly leaps from one point of view to another: first as Richard, the successful, self-satisfied doctor, then as his sister mourning over a miscarriage from over a decade ago, then as her 8-year-old boy who lives in a world of crime-fighting and star-gazing.  We see the world as Daisy, an evangelical teenager grappling with her identity, but also as Melissa, Richard’s rebellious stepdaughter.  Unlike many novels that that split up narrators chapter by chapter, “The Red House” flies from one character to the next by the paragraph, sometimes by the sentence!  While it starts out a bit dizzying, the format of this novel attempts to reflect the shared (and private) consciousness of a family.

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Posted on February 1, 2012, in book of the week. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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