Sunday, October 28, 2012

"The Red House" by Mark Haddon

264 pages

Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his sister Angela and her family to join him, his new wife, and his stepdaughter for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. His invitation is an attempt to repair his relationship with Angela, as they haven't been in touch since they drifted apart as their mother died years earlier. Angela brings her husband and three children, all of whom she is feeling alienated from. Needless to say, putting this group together for a week creates a new level of familial dysfunction and drama. 

I picked this one up because I loved Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The Red House just didn't do it for me, though. It lacks the charm and intrigue of Curious Incident.  In that story, I was totally interested and invested in Christopher, the autistic narrator. In this book, I just didn't care about any of the characters. I didn't think they were good people. I like for characters to have flaws, but I also need them to have some redeeming qualities and I didn't find any here. I did like Angela's youngest son, but he's forgettable enough that I can't remember his name. Bottom line: if I don't care about any of the characters, I usually don't care about the book. 

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