A Spot of Bother

By Mark Haddon. Published in 2006.

In his acclaimed debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon convincingly describes the interior monologue of an autistic boy. In A Spot of Bother, his subject seems more modest—four ordinary people—but perhaps that appearance is deceptive. After all, the vast majority of readers don’t know how it feels to be autistic, but they do know how it feels to clash with a parent or child or sibling or romantic partner, so they’re more likely to notice if the interior monologues in Bother seem off.

To my ear, A Spot of Bother did occasionally ring false—a bit too clean, a bit too pat—but the novel’s quiet, unassuming gentleness kept me absorbed nonetheless.