A spot of bother, Haddon’s brilliant domestic British drama

A spot of bother, Haddon’s brilliant domestic British drama

a spot of botherAfter his first adult novel “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, which gave him the recognition he deserved due more than sixteen literary awards in 2003 and 2004, the author published his second adult novel named “A Spot of Bother”.

Through several different viewpoints, Haddon tells us the story of George Hall, a retiree who is convinced that, instead of the diagnosis of Dr. Bargoudhian, the eczema on his thigh is a cancer. George is not a talkative person, so he keeps his problem to himself while all the rest of the family is struggling for his daughter’s Kate next wedding with Ray, who is not their favorite person in the world.

Later, George discovers that his wife is having an affair with his former co-worker David, and being unable to deal with his imaginary illness, the affair, the wedding and the homosexuality of his son Jamie, he starts to lose his head.

This domestic British drama is quite different from the first novel of the author: in this one he uses pretty short chapters and a third person voice to tell us how all the characters are feeling in the given situations, which speeds the book along. On the other hand, the book has a perfect balance of humor, insanity and absurdity, without being too harsh on the reader on the existential themes that could make it darker for some “Curious Incident” readers.

The story moves toward George’s daughter wedding to Ray, “the wrong man”, while the author takes an existential look at life and relationships of what could be any dysfunctional family -if not all the families are- nowadays, until the wedding day finally arrives and so does the story climax, transforming all the character’s which learn to communicate and look behind the appearances to get a new chance in their life with all that knowledge and growth in their souls.

After his first adult book, A Spot of Bother shows that Mark Haddon has interesting things to tell, a style of its own, and the literary force to stay in the market for at least, quite a while.

Laia Vilaseca.

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