September 14th, 2004


The Curious Incident

Of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is a novel whose first person narrator and protagonist is a high-functioning autistic fifteen year old boy with math-and-science savant capabilities.

One night he finds that a neighborhood poodle has been stabbed to death by a "garden fork," which I gather is a pitchfork to us Americans. The book is set in England.

He sets about solving the mystery of whodunit, and records his progress in a diary, which is this novel. The author is not really autistic at all, but he does a fascinating job of putting himself in the mind of such a person.

The lead character is quite charming, and very sympathetic, and even heroic, in his quirky way. The "normal" adults in the story do not come off looking nearly as good. The adults closest to him all seem to be messily "emotional" in the worst possible way at key points. The boy, for all his limitations, is the most competent person in the story. The story is told with an odd sort of suspense. You find out who killed the dog, and why, by about the midpoint of the story, but by then there is more storyline to be resolved, and a deeper mystery to be cleared up.

Objectivist readers may be amused by his complete lack of belief in God or an afterlife.

The strangest part is that you start to see things from his point of view after a while!

Rhyme of the day:

It's odd to find
Yourself in such a mind.

LAX radio problem and linguistic goulash

Well, it's Tuesday night, and my wife is expecting to fly out of LAX tomorrow evening, but in the news tonight LAX is suffering from a radio failure in the middle of the Mojave desert. Fox News says they're not sure what the problem is.

In my experience, with stuff like this, it's a lot better when they know what the problem is! Then they can start fixing it!

Well, I hope they have it fixed in time for Marsha to come home on schedule, since I miss her.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who is supposed to be learning Homer's tongue at St. John's, asked me to mail her a Hungarian phrase book.

Rhyme of the day:

It sounds a bit contrarian
To brush up on Hungarian
When you're learning to speak
Classical Greek.