My name is Christopher John Francis Boone
August 29, 2012 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend books that are similar to 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' (not just ones about autism).

What I really like about the novel:
  • Realism, or for some the fine line between realism and magic realism.
  • Simple, effective, unpretentious prose with very few adverbs.
  • Chronological narrative interspersed with asides/flashbacks.
  • Tonnes of detail!
Thanks hive mind:)
posted by fix to Writing & Language (22 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Love That Dog
Hate That Cat
posted by hmo at 9:42 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't claim I remember how many adverbs there were in Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, but it matches your other criteria.
posted by griphus at 9:44 AM on August 29, 2012

Weird. I'm currently reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When my wife asked me what it was like, I told her it reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
posted by diogenes at 9:48 AM on August 29, 2012

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

One of the best books ever.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:52 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Room by Emma Donoghue has a similar feel. It is told by a child narrator with a... unique point of view.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:03 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

I would look at Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. It's a pretty and contemplative book about an elderly Norwegian man tending to his rural life and looking back at his youth. It manages to pull off a feeling of compact beauty that is something I found in Curious Incident as well.
posted by elephantsvanish at 10:06 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recommend Jon McGregor's book, "If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things."
posted by luciddream928 at 10:13 AM on August 29, 2012

Looking at McGregor's website, I see that Mark Haddon wrote a review for one of his latest books, "Even the Dogs."
posted by luciddream928 at 10:17 AM on August 29, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
posted by lokta at 10:24 AM on August 29, 2012

I came in here to suggest Room as well. It's not a spoiler to say it's about a boy who's been born into captivity after his mother was kidnapped by a man who kept her in a soundproof shed. Donoghue captures the voice of a very smart, very trapped 5 year old boy incredibly.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:26 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe Iain Banks The Wasp Factory? Narrated by a young man who lives in his own distinct, and quite disturbing, reality. A reviewer on Goodreads describes the protagonist as "sort of the Columbine version of Holden Caufield."
posted by Naberius at 10:37 AM on August 29, 2012

Durr... how about a link to that?
posted by Naberius at 10:38 AM on August 29, 2012

Jane Gardam's Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat. Extremely crisp writing, vivid physical detail, lots of flashbacks, very bittersweet. World War II! The end of the British Raj! Aging! Retirement! You'll like it.
posted by ostro at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2012

Ishiguro's Remains Of The Day comes to mind, for spare, vivid prose, flashback structure, and a narrator whose point of view is unusual. Or any Ishiguro, actually-- When We Were Orphans starts to veer into something like magic realism.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:01 PM on August 29, 2012

Seconding The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I just finished it last night, and one of my first thoughts while reading it was that it reminded me of The Curious Incident...
posted by jenny76 at 3:16 PM on August 29, 2012

Try Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. I think it fits all of your criteria. Like The Curious Incident, it has an adolescent narrator, with stammering as his social challenge rather than autism.
posted by Snerd at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

On the borderline magical realism front, I recently read and loved The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier. The basic premise is that, one day, everyone's physical pain becomes visible to themselves and others as a glowing light (from your joints/temples/wherever). The narrative focuses on a notebook that changes hands from one character to another, and they all learn to live with the Illumination over time.
posted by wintersonata9 at 8:22 PM on August 29, 2012

I found Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close to be similar. Also n-thing Wallflower.
posted by simplethings at 11:05 PM on August 29, 2012

Everything by Alexander McCall Smith, particularly the Isabel Dalhousie novels. Sometimes the level of detail/flatness of the narrative is unsettling to me, but it sounds like it would be right up your street.
posted by Acheman at 3:41 AM on August 30, 2012

Response by poster: I just finished reading Love That Dog - it's a good read but very short. Picking up Black Swan Green tomorrow! Can't wait to read the others, thanks everyone:)
posted by fix at 5:27 PM on September 3, 2012

The Silver Linings Playbook and The Art of Racing in the Rain both reminded me of The Curious Incident.

(The Art of... is narrated by a dog, just to let you know up front.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:43 PM on January 21, 2013

I am currently reading 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster, and it reminded me of this question.

I also heard an intriguing recommendation on the Books on the Nightstand podcast for Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks--I haven't read it yet, but it sounded like it might also work for you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:33 PM on February 2, 2013

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