The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Is this not a brilliant title? I’d seen the book a long time, ago, but only last month I decided to actually buy it. And, as it usually happens, I’m glad I did.
It’s presented as an unconventional detective story, but the “detective” part is a cover up for so much more. Christopher is an autistic (most likely, suffering from Asperger’s) 15 year old, living in Swindon, UK. One day, his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is killed with a garden fork, and Cristopher embarks on an attempt to find the killer, imitating Sherlock Holmes, whom he seems to admire. But, of course, things are not as they seem, the adults in his life lose control over the situation and Christopher embarks on his own “character building” journey – to London.
What you mustn’t forget about the boy is his autism – because it makes his writing so peculiar and yet somehow easier to understand. He only deals with maths, with logical deductions, with theorems, rules, and diagrams – and he tries to understand the world through that – no feelings or emotions, no sense of basic human interaction, but otherwise a very vivid and insightful mind. Because of his deficiency, the portraits he paints come across and incomplete, though you can piece together the larger context of the Boone household. It made me think a bit about Rain Man (not surprising I guess), but, even with as little as I know about autism and its manifestations, Christopher felt real – not sketchy, not exaggerated.