Tuesday, March 22, 2005

50 Book Challenge #19: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

This is perhaps the best book of the nineteen I have read so far this year. Told from the point of view of an autistic teenager, it's a totally believable window into the experience of living with autism and also an engaging murder mystery and adventure, but it never departs from the realm of everyday experience. As someone who finds most fiction set in contemporary times self indulgent and uninteresting, I was delighted to follow this book's relentlessly realistic yet still surprising narrative. Another great strength of the book is its ability to represent characters who are deeply flawed and unappealing with sympathy and understanding. The author has worked with autistic children, and his experience shows in the verisimilitude of his renderings of these children and their families.

One warning: do not pick up this book if you don't have a chunk of time available to read it in one sitting. I intended to read just a chapter or two before bed as a reward for finishing two assignments of Fed Courts, and instead stayed up until 2:30 reading it.
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