MLA Gold Award Site

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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2004, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


He said, 'I have spoken to your father and he says that you didn't mean to hit the policeman.'

I didn't say anything because this wasn't a question.

He said, 'Did you mean to hit the policeman?'.

I said, 'Yes.'

He squeezed his face and said, 'But you didn't meant to hurt the policeman?'.

I thought about this and said, 'No. I didn't meant to hurt the policeman. I just wanted him to stop touching me.'

Then he said, 'You know that it is wrong to hit a policeman, don't you?'.

I said , 'I do.'

He was quiet for a few seconds, then he asked, 'Did you kill the dog, Christopher?'.

I said, 'I didn't kill the dog.'

He said, 'Do you know that it is wrong to lie to a policeman and that you can get into a very great deal of trouble if you do?'.

I said, 'Yes.'

He said, 'So, do you know who killed the dog?'.

I said, 'No.'

He said, 'Are you telling the truth?'.

I said, 'Yes. I always tell the truth.'

And he said, 'Right. I am going to give you a caution.'

I asked, 'Is that going to be on a piece of paper like a certificate I can keep?'

He replied, 'No, a caution means that we are going to keep a record of what you did, that you hit a policeman but that it was an accident and that you didn't mean to hurt the policeman.'

I said 'But it wasn't an accident.'

And Father said, 'Christopher, please.'

The policeman closed his mouth and breathed out loudly through his nose and said, 'If you get into any more trouble we will take out this record and see that you have been given a caution and we will take things much more seriously. Do you understand what I'm saying?'.

I said that I understood.

Then he said that we could go and he stood up and opened the door and we walked out into the corridor and back to the front desk where I picked up my Swiss Army Knife and my piece of string and the piece of the wooden puzzle and the 3 pellets of rat food for Toby and my £1.47 and the paperclip and my front door key which were all in a little plastic bag and we went out to Father's car which was parked outside and we drove home.

2. This is not a metaphor, it is a simile, which means that it really did look like there were two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, and if you make a picture in your head of a man with two very small mice hiding in his nostrils you will know what the police inspector looked like. And a simile is not a lie, unless it is a bad simile.





37

I do not tell lies. Mother used to say that this was because I was a good person. But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I can't tell lies.

Mother was a small person who smelt nice. And she sometimes wore a fleece with a zip down the front which was pink and it had a tiny label which said Berghaus on the left bosom.

A lie is when you say something happened which didn't happen. But there is only ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And there are an infinite number of things which didn't happen at that time and that place. And if I think about something which didn't happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn't happen.

For example, this morning for breakfast I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milkshake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea3 I start thinking about Coco-Pops and lemonade and Porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn't eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn't a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn't wearing a diving suit and so on and even writing this makes me feel shaky and scared, like I do when I'm standing on the top of a very tall building and there are thousands of houses and cars and people below me and my head is so full of all these things that I'm afraid that I'm going to forget to stand up straight and hang onto the rail and I'm going to fall over and be killed.

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" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Saving Montgomery Sole
    Saving Montgomery Sole
    by Mariko Tamaki
    Understanding identity is one the most important parts of adolescence. For some teenagers, those who...
  • Book Jacket: All Tomorrow's Parties
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Never-Open Desert Diner
    The Never-Open Desert Diner
    by James Anderson
    James Anderson's debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, starts off as an entertaining ...
Win this book!
Win The 100 Year Miracle

50 Copies to Give Away!

The 100 Year Miracle is a rich, enthralling novel, full of great characters.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Dark Lady's Mask
    by Mary Sharratt

    Based on the life of the first professional woman poet in Renaissance England, and her collaboration with Shakespeare.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Alaskan Laundry
    by Brendan Jones

    A fresh debut novel about a young woman who moves to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Sign O T T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.