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Extended Audio Sample A Spot of Bother Audiobook, by Mark Haddon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.73 out of 53.73 out of 53.73 out of 53.73 out of 53.73 out of 5 3.73 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Haddon Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9780739342657
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George Hall is an unobtrusive man. A little distant, perhaps, a little cautious, not quite at ease with the emotional demands of fatherhood or of manly bonhomie. “The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.” Some things in life can’t be ignored, however: his tempestuous daughter Katie’s deeply inappropriate boyfriend Ray, for instance, or the sudden appearance of a red circular rash on his hip.

At 57, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, and enjoying the freedom to be alone when he wants. But then he runs into a spot of bother. That red circular rash on his hip: George convinces himself it’s skin cancer. And the deeply inappropriate Ray? Katie announces he will become her second husband. The planning for these frowned-upon nuptials proves a great inconvenience to George’s wife, Jean, who is carrying on a late-life affair with her husband’s ex-colleague. The Halls do not approve of Ray, for vague reasons summed up by their son Jamie’s observation that Ray has “strangler’s hands.” Jamie himself has his own problems—his tidy and pleasant life comes apart when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to Katie’s wedding. And Katie, a woman whose ferocious temper once led to the maiming of a carjacker, can’t decide if she loves Ray or loves the wonderful way he has with her son Jacob.

Unnoticed in the uproar, George quietly begins to go mad. The way these damaged people fall apart—and come together—as a family is the true subject of Haddon’s hilarious and disturbing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

A Spot of Bother is Mark Haddon’s unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Once again, Haddon proves a master of a story at once hilarious, poignant, dark, and profoundly human. Here the madness—literally—of family life proves rich comic fodder for Haddon’s crackling prose and bittersweet insights into misdirected love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 2006 Costa Book Award Nominee

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samra Muslim | 2/20/2014

    " There was something extremely likeable and real about the story. George, Jean, Katie and Jamie are all humans - with their own issues - which make them slightly crazy, yet real. I dont know what the writer wanted the 'take-home' for his readers to be - but for me it just is 'crazy is what life does to us' - thats it!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 1/29/2014

    " So close to real life it's scary! But also why it's so funny :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony Moses | 1/27/2014

    " I don't think the dark humor in this book was really wasn't my thing, but it had a cute ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 1/23/2014

    " I liked the different way this author rights. He does a good job of portraying each of his different characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 1/20/2014

    " Made for a good chuckle "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chantel | 1/17/2014

    " Hilarious ... And depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lara | 1/16/2014

    " These characters are so lovingly flawed, you wish you could attend more of their dysfunctional family funcions. George goes quetly insane as politely as possible, how terribly English. Grisly and humourous by turns. I was a little baffled by the use of American spellings, but I'm persnickety that way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 1/15/2014

    " Heartwarming and funny story of a very dysfunctional family. George, the father, is convinced he is dying of cancer and develops psychotic tendencies. Meanwhile, George's wife is having an affair, his daughter is going to marry a man the family does not approve of and his homosexual son is having relationship issues. This book will keep you guessing up until the end! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn Jenkins | 1/7/2014

    " This particular book, with interesting sense of humor underlying throughout the book, was one of my favorites. I laughed and giggled uncontrollably. It may just be my unusual sense of humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 12/13/2013

    " Fascinating and engaging. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramey | 11/27/2013

    " what a great book. funny, engaging, sad, moving. love and family and everything else. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare | 11/16/2013

    " I really really liked this book, possible even more than Haddon's previous work. I felt the characters to be very sympathetically drawn and thought it a very heartfelt, subtle and funny look at family life. I will read it again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuichiro | 11/10/2013

    " Not as good as the "Curious Dog" but still good. It took a while to get into. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Anthonette Valdemoro | 8/21/2013

    " i can imagine this as a very good funny serious warm movie (I hope they'll make it into a movie) .. at the end i imagined Steve Martin as George Hall.. or someone as funny and witty as him.. i cant wait for another Mark Haddon's.. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frederick Bingham | 7/3/2013

    " I could not get interested in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Selz | 7/1/2013

    " Very VERY funny. It may have been a sombre subject matter but it was dealt with in a light way. Completely different from his first book and could easily establish him as a favourite author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Coe | 6/1/2013

    " When I finished reading the book I liked it, but the more I thought about it and absorbed what I had read I really liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alyssa | 3/4/2013

    " I trudged through this book expecting it to improve because of how much I'd liked Haddon's previous book, but the story was too watered down and American modern sitcom trying to be edgy. I felt that there were too many characters to care about, so I cared about none of them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suz | 4/22/2012

    " I thought the first few chapters were comically brilliant, but then it got into quite a slog. I didn't want to compare this to "The Curious Incident..." but I have to say that I will highly recommend it, and can't say the same for A Spot of Bother. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 4/19/2012

    " After reading The Curious ...Dog in the Night Time...I went for another, just to see if he held true...and he does! Again, totally human, quirky characters with a bit convoluted but real plot line that has a hopeful if not fairy tale happy ending. He's just plain fun to read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phrexus Docena | 4/9/2012

    " A funny book. It deals how one guy cracks up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 3/6/2012

    " the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is one of my favorite books and mark Haddon's second book did not disappoint. The only frustrating thing was having to wait so long for his next novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sunayna | 8/13/2011

    " The book has it's moments and extremely memorable quotes. Though try not to compare it with 'The Curious Incident...'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zameer Andani | 6/17/2011

    " If you liked "All Families Are Psychotic" by Douglas Coupland, you're gonna like this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 5/23/2011

    " I enjoyed this crazy family.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/9/2011

    " i can imagine this as a very good funny serious warm movie (I hope they'll make it into a movie) .. at the end i imagined Steve Martin as George Hall.. or someone as funny and witty as him.. i cant wait for another Mark Haddon's.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona | 5/8/2011

    " Excellent dialogue, lively characters, great story teller. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lormac | 5/7/2011

    " This book was difficult to take at times but truly memorable. After reading this book and "The Curious Incident", it is clear that this author has a knack for getting into the heads of people dealing with mental handicaps/illnesses, and making their thought processes accessible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanjana | 4/27/2011

    " You've got to love a dysfunctional family. Brilliant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 4/23/2011

    " Love. This book is hysterically funny despite very serious and real subject matter. I enjoyed every page; a quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evelyn | 4/18/2011

    " A story of a recently retired man who is afraid that he has cancer, afraid that he is dying, and then figures that he is having a nervous breakdown. Entertaining and yet thoughtful. I liked it; it was an easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lia | 4/16/2011

    " Mark Haddon has a marvellous way of putting you into the mind of someone who is mentally disturbed and creating a fascinating story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 4/13/2011

    " This story was darkly funny in a very dry British way. I enjoyed it and the title is perfect. It alone makes me smile about the quirky characters and their various dramas. "

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About the Author
Author Mark HaddonMARK HADDON is the author of the international bestseller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction and the Whitbread Book of the Year award; and the New York Times bestseller A Spot of Bother. In addition to The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, a collection of poetry, Haddon has also written and illustrated numerous award-winning children's books and television screenplays.
About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.