The Red House

  • by Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by Maxwell Caulfield
  • 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Red House is a dazzlingly inventive novel about modern family, from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
The set-up of Mark Haddon's brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.
But because of Haddon's extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt. As we come to know each character they become profoundly real to us. We understand them, even as we come to realize they will never fully understand each other, which is the tragicomedy of every family.
The Red House is a literary tour-de-force that illuminates the puzzle of family in a profoundly empathetic manner - a novel sure to entrance the millions of fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Have to weigh in on this one....

Having read most of the previous reviews of Audible listerners, which range widely, I feel compelled to add my view. Haddon shows in this book an uncannily billiant talent for writing about families' inner workings, most of which never see the light of day, but instead go on in our heads, contributing to all the unfair assumptions and misunderstandings that arise among family members. Each of the characters in The Red House is a very real, flawed (that is, recognizable) human being, and I marvelled at the way the author gave life to them, made each of them likable and unlikeable at the same time, made me ache for them and shout in frustration at them, and ultimately reached a credible ending that doesn't tie up all the loose ends, much like real life. Haddon is equally adept at giving voice to the private thoughts of a middle-aged self-questioning doctor with no children of his own and a teenage girl who is feeling alienated and confused about her own identity. Yes, his style is a tad inaccessible at times (he loves lists...for example, of the various items for sale in a second-hand store -- not sure what the point there was), and I wished the narrator had taken longer pauses to mark the sometimes unexpected switches between one character's perspective and another, so I could catch up with him; however, the tone and pace of the book felt much like I imagine a week in the country, thrown together with a lot of relatives one hasn't seen in a long time, would feel -- the disconnectedness, the boredom, the insecurity, the sense that you have to accomplish something before the week is over, and the occasional moments of love and understanding. If you like to escape into novels, this may not be the best book for you, but if you appreciate writers who can bring the real world, with all of its imperfections, to you in achingly poignant prose and have you nodding your head in recognition, then I highly recommend The Red House. I'm very glad I listened to it.
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- Melissa

Beautifully narrated, very touching story

Do you have any additional comments?

Done partially in a stream-of-consciousness style, including fragments of poems, I initially
worried that listening to this book was not the greatest way to
experience it. But it quickly became part of a coherent whole for me
and I really loved the book. The story of two related families on
holiday in the Welsh countryside and the permutations of
their relationships with each other and their own internal struggles is
done with complexity and great empathy. As with The Curious Incident of the
Dog in the Nightime, the author has great sympathy for
all the characters. Terrific narration.

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- Fernhill "cjddmunro"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-12-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio