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Friday, May 29, 2015

Christopher And I

Some novels take me a great deal longer to process. How frequently does this happen to you? How much of a factor is what you share with a narrator?

Since completing Mark Haddon's stunning 2003 debut "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time", I've been searching for a voice anything like the one belonging to 15 year old autistic Christopher John Francis Boone. I've been knocking around young narrators, pinball-style - Holden Caulfield from "Catcher In the Rye", Scout from "To Kill A Mockingbird". At this point, the closest analogue I've recalled is Jack, the five year old narrator of "Room" (Emma Donoghue). Though Christopher and Jack are ten years apart, their narration shares a critical element - the smallness of their world.

But unlike Jack's world - small because he and his mother are prisoners in a tiny room - Christopher prefers his world to be small; he functions best that way. When midway through the novel he ventures out in search of his mother, the author - through his narrator- gave me a visceral experience. The scary larger world was revealed to me through Christopher's disabled brain; it was harrowing.

I wonder how much sharing characteristics with a narrator influences my final reactions to any book. Regardless of how much Christopher and I share, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is an exceptional novel.
   

2 comments:

  1. I, too, felt a connection to Christopher. I related to his struggle through his panic, and I found myself wondering how many of us are able to face fears, whether well-founded or simply perceived, with the courage and determination of Christopher. And throughout my reading of the novel, I was reminded of another character, though I could not put my finger on his memory. I finally found him while meandering in the bookstore this past Friday, and thought I'd pass along his name to you. Jacob Hunt, in House Rules by Jodi Picoult. With my terrible memory, it is hard for me to ascertain the connection unless I pick up House Rules again now that I've read The Curious Incident..., and it's possible that once I do, the only connection will be the Special Ability that is shared by the characters. At any rate, I am just happy to have the memory back...no small task in my world. Thanks, Pat, for sharing!!! d.

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    1. d; Thanks for your comment; I'm so glad we found a book we have in common.

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