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#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Mark Haddon

Julie Key, Literature Search Specialist

Reason you chose this book

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time remains one of my favourite books. The success of Mark Haddon's best-known novel is largely down to its evocative representation of the worldview of someone with a highly functioning form of autism. It helps to promote understanding of unseen disabilities whilst also celebrating just how much people with developmental disorders can offer and can achieve.


Haddon envisages the first-person perspective of Christopher, a 15-year old with Asperger’s Syndrome who (inspired by Sherlock Holmes) attempts to unravel the mysterious death of a dog in his neighbourhood. It is written in a style which perfectly captures the gifted child's vivid imagination, embellished with diagrams, sketches and mathematical equations! At the same time, the book never diverges from the grounded and sometimes harsh reality of the outside world. The story defies any stereotypes casting those suffering long-term illnesses as helpless victims, whist also steering away from idealising those who care for them as selfless heroes. In this way, it is a heart-rending, engrossing but ultimately convincing tale, with plenty of light-hearted moments too!

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