Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Excerpt from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident  of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon X
The Curious Incident  of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2004, 240 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I lifted my head off the grass.

The policeman squatted down beside me and said, 'Would you like to tell me what's going on here, young man?'.

I sat up and said 'The dog is dead.'

'I'd got that far,' he said.

I said, 'I think someone killed the dog.'

'How old are you?' he asked.

I replied, 'I am 15 years and 3 months and 2 days.'

'And what, precisely, were you doing in the garden?' he asked.

'I was holding the dog,' I replied.

'And why were you holding the dog?' he asked.

This was a difficult question. It was something I wanted to do. I like dogs. It made me sad to see that the dog was dead.

I like policemen, too, and I wanted to answer the question properly, but the policeman did not give me enough time to work out the correct answer.

'Why were you holding the dog?' he asked again.

'I like dogs,' I said.

'Did you kill the dog?' he asked.

I said, 'I did not kill the dog.'

'Is this your fork?' he asked.

I said, 'No.'

'You seem very upset about this,' he said.

He was asking too many questions and he was asking them too quickly. They were stacking up in my head like loaves in the factory where Uncle Terry works. The factory is a bakery and he operates the slicing machines. And sometimes the slicer is not working fast enough but the bread keeps coming and there is a blockage. I sometimes think of my mind as a machine, but not always as a bread-slicing machine. It makes it easier to explain to other people what is going on inside it.

The policeman said, 'I am going to ask you once again…'

I rolled back onto the lawn and pressed my forehead to the ground again and made the noise that Father calls groaning. I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world. It is like when you are upset and you hold the radio against your ear and you tune it halfway between two stations so that all you get is white noise and then you turn the volume right up so that this is all you can hear and then you know you are safe because you cannot hear anything else.

The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet.

I didn't like him touching me like this.

And this is when I hit him.



13

This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them. Here is a joke, as an example. It is one of Father's.

His face was drawn but the curtains were real.

I know why this is meant to be funny. I asked. It is because drawn has three meanings, and they are 1) drawn with a pencil, 2) exhausted, and 3) pulled across a window, and meaning 1 refers to both the face and the curtains, meaning 2 refers only to the face, and meaning 3 refers only to the curtains.

If I try to say the joke to myself, making the word mean the three different things at the same time, it is like hearing three different pieces of music at the same time which is uncomfortable and confusing and not nice like white noise. It is like three people trying to talk to you at the same time about different things.

And that is why there are no jokes in this book.



17

The policeman looked at me for a while without speaking. Then he said, 'I am arresting you for assaulting a police officer.'

This made me feel a lot calmer because it is what policeman say on television and in films.

Then he said, 'I strongly advise you to get into the back of the police car because if you try any of that monkey-business again, you little shit, I will seriously lose my rag. Is that understood?'.

Excerpted from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Copyright © 2003 by Mark Haddon. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Our Missing Hearts
    by Celeste Ng

    From the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

I write to add to the beauty that now belongs to me

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.