A Spot of Bother

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Jonathan Cape, 2006 - Aged men - 390 pages
4 Reviews

George Hall doesn't understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. 'The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.' Some things in life, however, cannot be ignored.

At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family is not pleased - as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has 'strangler's hands'. Katie can't decide if she loves Ray, or loves the wonderful way he has with her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by all the planning and arguing the wedding has occasioned, which get in the way of her quite fulfilling late-life affair with one of her husband's former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.

Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.

The way these damaged people fall apart - and come together - as a family is the true subject of Mark Haddon's disturbing yet very funny portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

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User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

A small British family lives through crisis after synchronous crisis in this droll, very dark comedy. Each member of the family is struggling with their own modern-day version of anguished malaise ... Read full review

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User Review  - lucybrown - LibraryThing

Since I am myself prone to panics, about a quarter of the way through this book, I wondered if I was mad to be reading it. Besides, some of the characters were infantile and spoiled. But I kept with ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Mark Haddon is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. His poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, was published by Picador in 2005, and his last novel, The Red House, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. His most recent title is short story collection The Pier Falls. He lives in Oxford.

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