A spot of Bother by Mark Haddon


Well.  If you were to look back fastidiously on my blog you’ld see that I’m in a spot of bother this year when it comes to staking my claim as a minor league book reviewer.

The harsh fact is that I have reviewed nowt, SFA, nada – and that’s because, until this weekend, my reading exploits showed not a pot washed.

Sure, I’ve been reading – but completion has been an issue.  So it was with relief that I closed the back cover of this fab wee find.

Those of you who know “The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night” will, like me, have no doubt assumed that this major opus would find a difficult second novel in its wake and not have bothered.  Like me, you might have picked it up for a pound or two in a charity shop and looked at it wasting away on the shelf.  Unread.  Unloved.  Frankly, destitute.

Well, my dear fellow reader YOU WILL HAVE BEEN AN IDIOT!

This is a hilarious romp.

It’s a satire.

It’s a farce.

It’s never gonna win the Booker.  But it is  a thing of minor wonderment.

Blacker than a Chilean Coal miner it rips along faster than an aggressive cancer, because that’s what it’s all about.  The fear of cancer.

And madness, and familial hell.

It’s got taboo written all over it – but never the word is mentioned.

It’s laugh out loud funny and yet it is terrifically sad.

The basic premise is based on a retired 50-something bloke discovering a previously unseen spot on his hip.  He takes it to be cancer and overreacts like Woody Allen on Cocaine.  It turns out to be Eczema but that doesn’t matter; the seed has been sown and what follows is an outrageous overreaction that has hilarious knock on effects.

His daughter’s wedding turns to shit; his homosexual son doesn’t know if he’s coming or going; his wife’s affair goes pear shaped.

Please take the time to enjoy this minor masterpiece.  You will not regret it.  I promise you.

Like this?  love Jonathon Coe.