Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
In a certain light, Christopher Boone, the protagonist of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is the perfect child: He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t break promises (because to do so would be lying), he always does specifically as he’s told, and he’s about to take his A-level maths. Then again, he also refuses to eat anything that’s brown or yellow, acts out violently when touched, goes for days without speaking, and groans persistently when confused. Fifteen-year-old Christopher is autistic, and when he discovers his neighbor’s dog one night, dead and impaled on a garden fork, he sets out to find its killer with all of the naiveté and literal-mindedness of a child. A math and physics genius who dreams of being an astronaut, Christopher records the facts of the investigation and shapes them into his own story, labeling his chapters with prime numbers and jamming them full of keen observations and clear-headed explanations of complex mathematical and physical theories. And between the lines of logic he unintentionally lays bare the solutions to some of the messier human equations: Looking at him, the folks he encounters see mostly confusion, frustration, and pain; within him, the reader sees the eye of the storm, where everything has a reason, and truth, love, and hope are what matter most. Haddon reads at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, at Olsson’s Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610. (Anne Marson)