Sunday, March 29, 2009
A Spot of Bother
A Spot of Bother is a lighthearted look at family dysfunction, adultery, heartbreak and mental illness. It is Mark Haddon's second novel, following The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
While trying on a suit to wear to the funeral of a friend George discovers a rash on his hip. He is convinced it is cancer and becomes completely discombobulated. He discovers that his wife is having an affair with one of his ex-colleagues. Their son, Jamie, is gay and this embarrasses George and Jean. Their outspoken daughter, Katie, is about to marry for the second time. Ray, her fiance is, in George's and Jean's view, totally unsuitable but he is good to Jacob, Katie's young son from her first marriage. What ensues can best be described as chaos theory set loose in British suburbia.
Haddon's empathy and insight adds emotional depth to a novel that, in other hands, might have been merely an amusing comedy of manners. Do read it.