Posted inEditor's Pick

Mark Haddon: ‘Ultimately, There Is No Narrative Without Death’

Jessica Gross | Longreads | May 11, 2016 | 3,709 words
Posted inNonfiction, Profiles & Interviews, Story

Mark Haddon: ‘Ultimately, There Is No Narrative Without Death’

An conversation with the author about his dark new short story collection, The Pier Falls.
Photo: Rory Carnegie

Jessica Gross | Longreads | May 2016 | 15 minutes (3,709 words)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was Mark Haddon’s first novel, and the one that made him famous. Told from the perspective of an emotionally limited young man named Christopher, the book has sold millions of copies and is now being performed on Broadway. But Haddon was writing long before Curious Incident, including many books and picture books for children, and has been just as prolific since.

Haddon’s new short story collection The Pier Falls deals largely in darkness. The descriptions, soaked through with detail, often verge on the grotesque. In the title story, a pier collapses, bringing many lives with it, a process Haddon details with excruciating exactitude. In “Bunny,” we witness the effects of the protagonist’s obesity, while in “The Weir,” a newly separated middle-aged man saves a young woman from a suicide attempt, yielding an unlikely friendship. Haddon and I spoke by phone about the infusion of death and destruction in his work, his writing process, and his fascination with writing about fatally arrogant men.

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