Best 2003 Adventures (1)
January 26, 2021
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 2003 adventure novels.
Mark Haddon’s epistemological adventure The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
When his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed — impaled with a pitchfork — fifteen-year-old Christopher, the story’s narrator, comes under suspicion. We are given to understand that our protagonist is on the autism spectrum… and his odd behavior and flat affect do not endear him to the police investigators. (He describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.”) Christopher lives with his father Ed, a boiler engineer, in the English town of Swindon; his mother, he has been told, died two years earlier. Although severely constrained by his difficulties in making sense of the overwhelming sensorial input of the world outside of mathematics, our hero courageously begins to investigate the dog’s demise. As he tentatively explores his neighborhood before venturing even further afield, Christopher discovers just how little he’d previously known for sure about anything. The “murder mystery” is resolved quickly; the larger mystery is… life itself.
Fun facts: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, among other honors. Its title refers to Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze”: “‘Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’ ‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’ ‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’ ‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.”
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.