Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I finished reading an outstanding novel today, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. The conceit of the novel is that it is being written by an autistic teenager in a small British town. He has discovered a dead dog on his neighbor's lawn, and he has decided to Investigate The Murder in the fashion of his hero, Sherlock Holmes.

Christopher, the narrator, is utterly convinving and Martian in a way that is at once both believable and alien. The story manages to pull off the incredible trick of exposing the emotional lives of the characters around the narrator — whose disorder precludes empathic interpretations of the feelings of the people he's dealing with — and of the narrator himself, whose emotions are both lost to the noise of autistic overload and still subtly teased out and laid out for the reader.

The novel is very short, 240 pages, and flies past. The above graf makes it sound too soppy, I think — the book is anything but. It's funny and charming. It's fast and exciting. It's didactic and narrative. I haven't enjoyed a novel this much in recent memory.