The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
|Written by:||Mark Haddon|
|Synopsis:||An autistic teen investigates the killing of a dog, and finds his own past.|
|First published:||May 1, 2003|
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a 2003 novel by Mark Haddon. It is about young Christopher John Francis Boone, who knows all the countries of the world and all the prime numbers up to 7,057, but has almost no comprehension of human emotion. One late night (exactly 7 minutes after midnight), he finds his neighbor's dog killed by a garden fork, leading him into an investigation that becomes about more than just a dead dog, but about the real world told through the eyes of a 15-year-old with severe autism, right down to the unnecessary details.
Tropes used in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time include:
- Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe. To most people, killing Wellington would be a pretty disgust-inducing Kick the Dog (no pun intended) moment but not quite the Moral Event Horizon. To Christopher, it is as serious as killing a human being and his father is a murderer and Christopher must escape from the house because his father could kill anyone.
- Asperger's Syndrome: Although never mentioned by name in the novel.
- Captain Obvious: Christopher, for obvious reasons.
- Cluster F-Bomb / Precision F-Strike: Lots of them.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Chris. Justified because of his autism.
- Cursed with Awesome / Blessed with Suck: Christopher is a mathematical genius but his social skills are in the minuses.
- Deadpan Snarker: Christopher claims to have no sense of humour but is given to moments of dry, sardonic wit, an example being: "I think dogs are more interesting than some people. Francis who goes to be school for instance needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan tells me not to say this to Francis's mother."
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It indeed was a curious incident involving a dog that happened in the nighttime. It becomes more than that, though...
- Half Truth: Chris's father on Chris's mother:
Father: She has a problem... a problem with her heart.
- Hates Being Touched: Christopher.
- Idiot Savant: Christopher
- I Never Got Any Letters
- Innocent Inaccurate: Christopher.
- It's All About Me: Christopher, his mother and Mr and Mrs. Shears.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chris, although you can't really blame him. Also, Chris's parents.
- Kid Detective: What Chris wishes to become.
- Literary Allusion Title: Silver Blaze, a Sherlock Holmes mystery (full quote at Fair Play Whodunnit).
- Missing Mom: Christopher is raised by his father because his mother has died. Or so he's been told. She is actually living elsewhere.
- No Social Skills: Christopher
- Parents as People
- Punch a Wall: Ed punches a hole in a fence when Christopher won't talk to him.
- Reading Your Rights: Christopher gets this from the cop at the beginning, which he recognizes as standard procedure.
- Schedule Fanatic
- Troubled Fetal Position: Christopher does this when he is upset or overwhelmed.
- Unusual Chapter Numbers: The chapter numbers are all prime numbers.
- Unreliable Narrator, although with his photographic memory it could also be a subversion.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: It outrages Christopher that after he finds out that his father killed Wellington, and won't even get punished for it because they'll only do it if Mrs. Shears presses charges.