By Mark Haddon
(Jonathan Cape, Paperback, 9780224096416)
Publication Date: May 2012
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The set up of Mark Haddon's brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. All eight arrive with low expectations for a pleasant holiday.
But because of Haddon's extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House""becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt.
The Red House""is a literary tour-de-force that illuminates the puzzle of family in a profoundly empathetic manner--a novel sure to entrance the millions of readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
- What role does the Welsh landscape play in The Red House? How might this story be different if it portrayed an American family? Where would you set the story and what points of American culture would you add?