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A Spot of Bother

A Novel
Haddon, Mark (Book - 2006 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Spot of Bother
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George Hall is an unobtrusive man. A little distant, perhaps, a little cautious, not at quite at ease with the emotional demands of fatherhood, or manly bonhomie. He does not 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 61, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels and listening to a bit of light jazz. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting re-married, to the deeply inappropriate 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 ex-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 Haddon's disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely. A SPOT OF BOTHER is Mark Haddon's unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Here the madness - literally - of family life proves rich comic fodder for Haddon's crackling prose and bittersweet insights into misdirected love. From the Hardcover edition.
Authors: Haddon, Mark, 1962-
Title: A spot of bother
a novel
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 354 p. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Mark Haddon
ISBN: 9780385520515
0385520514
Branch Call Number: FICTION HADDON
Subject Headings: Mortality Fiction Middle-aged men Fiction
Genre/Form: Psychological fiction
Topical Term: Mortality
Middle-aged men
LCCN: 2006016578
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At 61, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels and listening to a bit of light jazz. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting re-married, to the deeply inappropriate Ray.


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Jan 09, 2012
  • Mewsician rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I guess there's a new category of fiction, called "painfully funny." If so, this book is absolutely in. If you don't the humor, I suppose the book will just be painful; certainly there is enough misery, and even self-inflicted violence, for that. But, come on! Isn't the author a Brit, and aren't the Brits just ace at understated humor? Isn't that why we love them so much? This family has a boatload of problems so we can enjoy all their foibles as they negotiate their lives. It's charming and winning and makes you realize you could be worse off.

May 19, 2011
  • ksoles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In "A Spot of Bother," the follow-up to Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime," protagonist George Hall becomes convinced that his eczema is actually cancer. He launches into a psychological tailspin while trying to channel a host of other problems: his daughter, Katie, is raising a toddler and is engaged to the unlikable Ray, his wife, Jean, is having an affair with George's co-worker and his son, Jamie, has been dumped by his boyfriend. Haddon does an amazing job of getting into the head of each character, intimately describing Jean's waffling over her affair, Katie's overwhelmed state as a single mother and George's depression. The book is hilariously odd but also touching and it leaves the reader with a genuine sympathy for poor George.

Mar 27, 2008
  • Cathy rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The total dysfunctionality of this family got on my nerves!

Feb 14, 2007
  • pscho rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A remarkably dysfunctional family are at the centre of this painfully funny book. Haddon is an amazingly talented author and I look forward to his next book.

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Mar 27, 2008
  • Cathy rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Follows the trials of a dysfunctional family--anxious father, mother having an affair, daughter not sure whether to get married and a gay son not being able to commit.

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“And it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss what other people thought.” — 89 likes

“You love someone, you've got to let something go.” — 45 likes

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