If you like tangential explorations of relationships within a family that don’t reach any real solid conclusions then this book’s for you. The Red House is the tale of a family’s week-long holiday near the Welsh border. The chapters are divided by days of the week and follow a sort of chronological order. Haddon switches from different points of view within the book and it’s not always clear whose POV is whose. Haddon also favours listing eg: machine guns. Popguns. Potato guns. Cap guns. Bows and arrows. Axes. Tomahawks. Brooms. DUsters. J-Cloths. Nail brushes… (on and on and on) – so if that’s your thing go for it. His writing is very visual and poetic which is an aspect I like.
Siblinghood, Sexuality, Religion, Parent-children relations, Psychological trauma are all subjects teased out in the Red House in a thought-provoking way. The children in the book are by far the best characters and the ones you root for throughout, especially Benjy, Alex and Daisy. I enjoyed the reading experience but felt a little let down by the end of the book as no neat conclusions were reached and a vague depressing feeling of life and limitations and bad choices lingered yesterday evening after I’d finished reading. Haddon has an uncanny ability of writing truthfully from myriads of points of view whether they come from a female character exploring her sexuality or a male character examining his relationship with his father. I would recommend as I enjoy Haddon’s writing style but maybe lighten up with an episode of Community post-read.