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Extended Audio Sample The Red House: A Novel Audiobook, by Mark Haddon Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (4,892 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Haddon Narrator: Maxwell Caulfield Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9780307988362
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An 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 readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Haddon peers inside the messy dynamics of a group of relatives, each grappling with their own fears and trying to make sense of themselves as a family....braids together themes of sexual identity, parental insecurity and sibling rivalry, and no one gets away unscathed NPR
  • "Exciting and accessible The Daily Beast
  • Amusing and poignant as it explores a family’s fumbling attempts at connection Whole Living
  • Surprising and deeply moving....the set-up ensures that there will be revelations, twists and shifts in the family dynamic....sustaining suspense....while enriching the developing relationships among people....organic rather than contrived, the characters convincing throughout, the tone compassionate and the writing wise. A novel to savor. Kirkus, starred review 
  • “[Haddon] is almost unrivalled at the notoriously tricky task of giving an authentic voice to children, and his ability to pinpoint the comic aspects of the everyday scenarios. Sunday Times
  • "A masterly evocation of two dysfunctional, yet outwardly respectable families. Sunday Express
  • Mark Haddon is terrifyingly talented. Times (UK)

    "A serious, lyrical, complex novel....beautiful
  • "Hugely enjoyable, sympathetic novel would make perfect reading for those setting out on holiday The Observer

    "[Haddon is] a master craftsman
  • "With writing as elegant and truthful as this, readers will wish to keep their copies close at hand to savour again. The Daily Mail
  • "[Haddon] writes like a dream. Never showy, but often lyrically descriptive, he takes the reader with him to the core of this crazy family. Secondly, he has a true understanding of the human heart. Spectator
  • It’s every bit as charmingly idiosyncratic as his brilliant The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
    The Daily Mirror
  • Engaging....From the first page in which the train carrying Dominic and Angela's family "unzips the fields", there is a vigor to Haddon's prose which carries you along. I read it twice, both times with enjoyment. The Independent

    Praise for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • A triumph of empathy. The New Yorker
  • Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent. The Boston Globe
  • “Moving . . . wonderfully vivid . . . Mr. Haddon writes with such sympathy, such understanding. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • Haddon’s book illuminates the way one mind works so precisely, so humanely, that it reads like both an acutely observed case study and an artful exploration of a different ‘mystery’: the thoughts and feelings we share even with those very different from us. Entertainment Weekly
  • Funny, sad and totally convincing. Time
  • So astute, so gently funny, so touching, that you get caught up in the fate of the well-meaning, if slightly imprudent, Hall family. USA Today
  • Snaps, crackles and pops with humor and pathos as Haddon depicts family members driving one another crazy . . . sparklingly written with short, punchy chapters . . . Haddon deftly pulls this off with what we can now hail as his trademark tenderness. Los Angeles Times
  • A nonstop pleasure. People
  • Superbly entertaining . . . Haddon’s particular genius, however, lies in the unobtrusive way he makes us identify with his characters . . . fine craftsmanship. The Washington Post Book World
  • Totally brilliant . . . [Haddon is]so wondrously articulate, so rigorous in thinking through his characters’ mind-sets, that A Spot of Bother serves as a fine example of why novels exit. The New York Times Book Review
  • “Absorbing…Brilliant…Haddon wends a careful path in this novel between the effervescent comedy of quirky families and the bitter tragedy of dysfunctional ones.”

    Washington Post

  • Absorbing....  Even if you don’t see your relatives in these pages, you’ll learn to appreciate their ungainly efforts to reach out and maintain those old filial bonds....What holds our interest is Haddon’s extraordinary sympathy, his ability to reveal what stirs these people beneath their congenial holiday faces....a brilliant portrayal of the asymmetric nature of resentment within families....But it’s Hardon’s peculiar structure that raises this family drama to something exceptional. He’s perfected a constantly shifting perspective that keeps our sympathies from taking root in any one of these characters....the effect is symphonic....Haddon wends a careful path in this novel between the effervescent comedy of quirky families and the bitter tragedy of dysfunctional ones. The Washington Post
  • A story of remarkable complexity, exploring the rich interior lives of his characters.....Most impressive is the ambitious structure of this novel....there's an abundance of dark humor....the story moves along swiftly and seamlessly. USA Today
  • “In this absorbing, Virginia Woolf-esque novel by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, an extended family gathers for a  week in the English countryside. Perfect (or not) for that holiday with the in-laws. People
  • The story unfolds from all eight characters’ points of view, a tricky strategy that pays off, letting Haddon dig convincingly into all of the failures, worries and weaknesses that they can’t leave behind Entertainment Weekly
  • "Particularly fresh and true O Magazine
  • A beautiful and authentic portrait of a blended family and the secrets, grudges and desires that keep its members apart Real Simple
  • In Mark Haddon's The Red House, a nuclear family detonates delightfully....particular, vivid, attentive....a wonderful perspective Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • A fun, fast-paced read from one of our finest storytellers Dallas Morning News
  • THE RED HOUSE employs the same empathy for its varied characters and the same sharply observed, skewed view of the 'ordinary' world....creates a mosaic whose pieces add up to a picture no one character can see....satisfying and believable....Haddon writes with a gentle, compassionate sense of irony Columbus Dispatch
  • “Haddon delivers a story of remarkable complexity, exploring the rich interior lives of his characters…Impressive.”

    USA Today

  • “Particularly fresh and true.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A chaotic but truthful portrait of what family means in this narcissistic age: less a cohesive whole than a group of individuals bumping against each other with their own needs, disappointments and…victories.”

    Seattle Times

  • “In this absorbing, Virginia Woolf-esque novel…an extended family gathers for a week in the English countryside. Perfect (or not) for that holiday with the in-laws.”

    People

  • “The story unfolds from all eight characters’ points of view, a tricky strategy that pays off, letting Haddon dig convincingly into all of the failures, worries, and weaknesses that they can’t leave behind.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Engaging…The quality of the writing allows us to know this extended clan, who are on a week’s holiday, better than they know each other.”

    Independent (London)

  • “The language of [The Red House] is wonderful—particular, vivid, attentive.”

    Plain Dealer

  • “Each of the characters acts as a splintered bit of mirror for the others, so that the reader sees them all from multiple perspectives…Satisfying and believable…Haddon writes with a gentle, compassionate sense of irony.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “Haddon peers inside the messy dynamics of a group of relatives, each grappling with their own fears and trying to make sense of themselves as a family…[The novel] braids together themes of sexual identity, parental insecurity, and sibling rivalry, and no one gets away unscathed.”

    NPR

  • “Haddon delights in winkling…social misfits out of their natural habitats and thrusting them into very English comedies of discombobulation and befuddlement.”

    New York Times

  • “[Haddon] writes like a dream. Never showy, but often lyrically descriptive, he takes the reader with him to the core of this crazy family…He has a true understanding of the human heart.”

    Spectator (London)

  • Selected for the June 2012 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, June 2012
  • A 2012 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Ober | 2/17/2014

    " Amazing book. I love all of Mark Haddon's novels -- they are all completely different and all really really well done. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy Hyde | 2/5/2014

    " A difficult read. It skips to different characters, but they are all hard to follow. I didn't ahve any idea what was going on and wasn't enjoying it...so...gave it up! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marian | 1/30/2014

    " Ack! Terrible - the writing style was so confusing and hard to follow. Half way through, I finally gave myself permission not to know whose POV each paragraph followed - simply for the sake of getting through it for book club. Completely self-absorbed and unlikable characters, nothing in terms of a plot, and too much fixation on semi-incestual sexual relationships. "

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

    " This story was nothing like the Curious incident... But it was still an interesting depiction of a modern family with all its represed problems and issues that are always on the verge of explosion but never seem to be able to escape... And just like in real life, stories don't necessarily have happy endings... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Stephen Wenzel | 1/12/2014

    " I never ever give up on a book. Except this one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jaime | 1/7/2014

    " Got 137 pages in and quit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Tinkler | 1/5/2014

    " I always enjoy Mark Haddon's books! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsten | 1/4/2014

    " It took me awhile to get used to the eccentric writing style, but once I did it was an easy read. I had thought that the choppy voice was unique to the character in Hadden's previous novel (Dog in the Night etc.), but it seems not. Hadden has a unique gift for inhabiting the minds of kids and teens. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vanessa Phonsavanh | 11/29/2013

    " If you want to read a bout a family more dysfunctional than yours, this is the book for you. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michelle | 11/28/2013

    " Could not finish. Story jumped from character to character with not much of a story that I could follow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pernille Madsen | 11/25/2013

    " If you enjoyed Spot of Bother, you'll enjoy this. First half of the book is very long. It picks up after that and actually borders on getting interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it to a friend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Wilt | 11/22/2013

    " What a writer Mark Haddon is! He can describe an inner mind's tangled logic and anguish with lyrical grace. I thought this was a wonderful character study as much as an examination of a family finding its way together. Recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eva StengÃ¥rd | 10/18/2013

    " The Red house does not hold the same high standard as his previous books. It is easy to read but the story is unclear and the characters rather flat. I had trouble keeping some of them apart. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 6/13/2013

    " A hard read. Didn't really get into the book until I was ~75% thru it. Quality of the book not worth the effort "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary Hickey | 6/7/2013

    " Loved curious incident of the dog in the night. Didn't enjoy the writing style here at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stuart | 4/28/2013

    " I liked this book, especially once I got accustomed to the author's writing style. The underlying story is pretty straightforward; the author weaves a somewhat complex tale through a rich use of related detail ( colors, weather, place, emotions, etc.). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tammi Daugherty | 12/23/2012

    " Very fragmented. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blackbirdpie Pie | 12/18/2012

    " I enjoyed this one but it's definitely not for everyone. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy Molina | 12/13/2012

    " Boooooring. Got about halfway through and decided to dump it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/16/2012

    " Slow moving and confusing, but if you stick with it the individual stories and narrators will begin to stand out. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Samara | 7/15/2012

    " Written with almost complete disregard for audience. Self-indulgent writing style. Seems like he was trying to be clever. The story didn't come close to making up for any other shortcomings. Don't waste your time. "

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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

Maxwell Caulfield is a film, stage, and television actor best known for his roles as Michael Carrington in the 1982 film Grease 2 and Miles Colby in the television shows The Colbys and Dynasty. His other acting credits include the films Gettysburg, The Real Blonde, and Emmerdale