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a Job's muffler [userpic]
The curious incident
by a Job's muffler (hedda62)
at April 17th, 2007 (06:57 pm)

Swallowed the book this afternoon whole. Didn't plan that, but it pulled me along very compellingly.

Having read it, and lizbee's post and the review she pointed to, I have a question to pose. What do you think - would Christopher himself read this book, and would he read it in anything like the same way that we do?

No, he doesn't like novels, because they are about things that are not true, and that makes him inevitably think about all the other things that aren't true as well, like the rhinoceros that's not in the room. It was that sort of detail that made the book compelling to me, though certainly the level of self-awareness indicated by that thought makes defining Christopher's mental state problematic. Dual question there, I think: one, is he plausibly autistic (no); two, is he a plausible, integrated character in and of himself (mostly).

Anyway, I don't think he'd read this book, whether he was the author or Mark Haddon was. In the latter case because it was fictional, and in the former because there would be no point (and considerable confusion and trauma) in reviewing events over again. And if he did, he would not find it unputdownable, because what made that happen for me was the portrayal of the characters and the way the plot carried me along, wanting to find out what happened, and neither of those things would matter to him.

I guess I'm trying to dissect this a bit because I wonder if the nature of the novel itself, and of writing a novel, make it impossible to write a convincing autistic character, or at least protagonist and narrator. Because self-awareness, and awareness of motivation, is central to the process and the product?

Five-minute pre-dinner analysis. *shrug* What do you think?


Posted by: i can make it on my own! (lydaclunas)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)

I agree that he wouldn't read his own book. Further, I find it contradictory that he likes mystery novels. Even if they follow a certain logical conclusion and even if he relates to Sherlock Holmes, isn't mystery fiction just as much a lie as any other sort?

I don't know that it would be impossible to write from the POV of an autistic mind, while accurately representing it. Keep it to just the facts, ma'am? And keep the facts limited to how they would be perceived. I think it would require a lot of skill to make it as compelling, perhaps, because we'd have to put a lot more guesswork into that central motivation, plus we'd have to work out what the autistic perception means to our own "normal" perceptions, whereas Christopher's narration takes care of a lot of that for us.

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