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Extended Audio Sample A Spot of Bother Audiobook, by Mark Haddon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (16,862 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Haddon Narrator: Charles Keating Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9780739341513
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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 for Best Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clare Strongman | 1/31/2014

    " What's there to say? I cannot put this book into words, it's just too good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cate | 1/30/2014

    " From the ridiculous to the sublime! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kurt | 1/27/2014

    " I laughed a lot. My wife says I remind her of the main character. I don't think I am that bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryder | 1/22/2014

    " pretty funny. I had a couple of laugh out loud moments. "

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

    " I like Mark Haddon's writing, and can tolerate a certain amount of aimless rambling, but this book was a little over-the-top for me. I think it would almost work better as a play than a book, as I think a lot of it would work better as visual comedy rather than reading it, as the humor comes from visualizing the various scenes involved. And while the various events weren't necessarily predictable, I think the ultimate outcome was very predictable in a Hollywood ending sort of way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ragazza | 1/16/2014

    " I found this book quite distressing and sad,unlike the reviewer in the Telegraph who said "Brilliant and very funny". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Friess | 1/14/2014

    " A complete departure from his previous work. Typical disfunctional family stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simon Curtis | 12/11/2013

    " A sad look at growing old. Very real. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cle | 12/6/2013

    " Didn't want the book to end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phebe | 12/4/2013

    " This was quite darkly funny in spots (no pun intended)...I didn't like it as well as the Curious Incident, but not bad to listen to! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Russell | 10/27/2013

    " This book follows in a tradition of dysfunctional families, and it really misses the mark. That part where he slices off part of his flesh had me physically squirming, thinking, why!? Why bother. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annica | 10/15/2013

    " It was OK - better called 'much to do about nothing'. I didn't particularly take to any of the characters and it left me feeling more frustrated than satisfied. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 9/23/2013

    " Started this, got some way through, got distracted and never returned. And, unusually, I didn't feel any compulsion to. So that might be helpful as a review, or it might not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Kukwa | 8/30/2013

    " Well, I loved "Curious Incident"...but this came right out of left field. I was alternating between tears of happy and hearty laughter throughout the climax. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suz | 8/26/2013

    " 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Maya | 1/5/2013

    " I couldn't get past the first chapter. The stuffy british male character put me to sleep. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca Gee | 9/18/2012

    " Mark Haddon has a wonderfully fluent writing style that is pleasant to read and the 500 pages flew past. Although the characters were often gratingly annoying and the story was self-indulgent at times, desperate to illustrate the moral, A Spot of Bother was funny and enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vone | 7/7/2012

    " It was a little hard to really get into but then I found it interesting to follow the lives of all the members of the family. Messed up but I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Dunn | 6/15/2012

    " Slow beginning, weak ending but one of the most enthralling middles I've ever read...I don't know whether to recommend this book or not...very confusing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan Wood | 5/29/2012

    " Not the sort of thing I normally read at all, but I had a lot of fun with this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Priya Harry | 5/26/2012

    " I don't get my hands on a lot of hunourous fiction (I'm not really sure why) but this one provided a good few chuckles. I just found it a bit too long - it could have maybe been a few chapters shorter. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sankari Ni Bhriain | 4/4/2012

    " I thought that it was forced and unnatural throughout. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick Rice | 12/26/2011

    " Good book. His other one was better, but this one was good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kennda | 12/21/2011

    " This book was just ok. I felt that the story was rather contrived in comparison his other work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nan.C | 11/20/2011

    " I enjoyed this 'family saga' book a lot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pen | 5/29/2011

    " Like The Curious Incident book, extremely entertain and easy read. "

  • 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.