Friday, May 27, 2005


I've been reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', a book against which I've been holding an unreasonable grudge*.

The fact is, a few years ago when the book had only just been published, and long before it had registered on any literary radar, I noticed it on the shelves in Kmart, of all places. I picked it up, admired the cover art and the intriguing title, read the blurb, thought, "This might be good,", but eventually thought "Meh," put it back and went off on my merry way.

If only I'd bought it then! There is no word in English, as far as I can tell, to properly express the smug joy of recognising something great and adopting it before everyone else has.

Sap: I'm reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'.

Me: Oh yes, I read that a year or two ago. It's great. You'll enjoy it.

Sap: You've read it already? My, but you are an astute literary connoisseur and a dashed clever fellow all round.

Me: Yes. Yes I am.

In the years since first encountering the book, I've put up with rave reviews from friends and the media alike. I was biding my time, waiting for the right moment, that time when the faddishness had passed and I could pass off my late-adoption as literary ennui.

Different Sap: Have you read 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'?

Me: No. I hear it's quite good. I'll get around to it some day (affects stifling a yawn) once the dust settles.

Not as satisfying, but it serves me right for being cheap all those years ago in Kmart.

So much for the grudge. It is, of course, a very good book. I don't know how well it captures the reality of autism, but the narrator is believable, and his world is so small, so self-contained, and rendered so unrecognisable by his condition, that reality is neither here nor there. It seems like the way an autistic boy would view the world, and within the confines of the novel, that's what matters.

*Of course all my grudges are unreasonable. I live in a lovely world of bunnies and sunshine and have no cause to hold grudges against anything. And yet I do. I am bad.


Blogger Jesster said...

I just borrowed a copy from a friend. Amazingly well-realized world...

4:31 AM  
Blogger phaedrus said...

Wait.. There are K-marts in Australia?

Poor saps.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Yes, we have Kmarts in Australia. Only here, of course, they have their corporate mascot, Kevin the Kmart Koala, hanging off that big blue K and giving a big thumbs-up and a wink. Their slogan is "You beaut products at dinkum low prices!"

It could be worse. We could have Walmarts.

8:58 AM  

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