Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village under the Sea

Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village under the Sea

by Mark Haddon



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385662130
Publisher: Random House of Canada, Limited
Publication date: 04/28/2006
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

Mark Haddon was born in Northampton in 1962. He studied for a BA in English at Merton College, Oxford, graduating in 1981.

Mark has packed a lot into his career over the years since graduating, with a spell working as a live-in volunteer for someone with MS to working a string of part-time jobs in London, from theatre box office to bicycle mail order work.

Between 1983-4 Mark returned to studying to complete an MSc in English Literature at Edinburgh University. Following this Mark held part-time positions for Mencap and several other organisations, working with children and adults with a variety of mental and physical handicaps.

At this time he was also involved in illustration work for a number of magazines and has been a cartoonist for the New Statesman, Spectator, Private Eye, Sunday Telegraph and Guardian for which he co-wrote a cartoon-strip, Men - A User’s Guide.

After a year living in Boston, Massachusetts (1997-1998) with his wife they moved back to England and, dissatisfied with his illustration work because it was causing him headaches, he took up abstract painting, which he now regularly sells.

From 1996 until now, Mark has been involved with many television projects. He has won numerous awards, including two BAFTAs and The Royal Television Society Best Children’s Drama for Microsoap for which he was the creator and writer of 12 out of 25 episodes.

He has also written 2 episodes for the children’s TV series Starstreet and most recently, has been involved in a BBC screenplay adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s, Fungus and the Bogeyman.

All this still doesn’t make mention of Mark’s increasingly successful career as an author, with his first children’s picture book, Gilbert’s Gobstopper published in 1987 by Hamish Hamilton.

Since then he has gone on to write and illustrate numerous children’s books including the popular Agent Z series for Bodley Head, of which Agent Z and the Penguin from Mars was dramatised on BBC 1 in 1996. In 1994 Mark was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize for The Real Porky Philips published by A & C Black.

Mark Haddon is the bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and a Commonwealth Writers’ Award for Best First Book in 2003, and has over 200,000 copies in print in Canada alone.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is the often amusing and compelling story of Christopher, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome. Shown through his unwavering eyes, his family and relationships come under sharp scrutiny in this unforgettable novel.

Mark now lives in Oxford with his wife, Sos Eltis, who is a fellow in English Literature at Brasenose College and their son Alfie. In his spare time, although it’s amazing to think that he might have some, Mark does marathon canoeing and as he puts it, ‘various other masochistic sports activities’.

Read an Excerpt

Go, Litel Bok

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the jury.
Those of my trade, we are like the badger or the mole.
We work alone in darkness, guided by tiny candles which we do not share, sweating to give birth to replacement planets where things happen which don't.
And sometimes the hard jigsaw becomes a picture and not a car accident. More rarely we place our fingers adroitly on the frets or keyboard and multitudes plummet through the small white trapdoor which bears our hieroglyphs. Then we are taken up into the blaze and shout of the conurbations to make words in the air and strike the strange pose from the clothing catalogue. But sometimes we see a swallow in wintertime. And the talking horse and the sad girl and the village under the sea descend like stars into a land of long evenings and radically different vegetables and a flex is run from our hearts into the hearts of those who do not know the meaning of the words cardigan or sleet. And there is no finer pudding.
Now I am like that cow in the nursery rhyme.
The fire I have felt beneath your shirts. These cloisters.
Red mullet with honey. This surprisingly large slab of Perspex. Your hands are on me. But this man is another man. The clock chimes, my pumpkin waits and the frog drums his gloved fingers on the dashboard.
May the god whose thoughts are like a tent of white light above the laundry and the pigeons of this town walk always by your side. My burrow calls. Good night.

A Rough Guide

Be polite at the reception desk.
Not all the knives are in the museum.
The waitresses know that a nice boy is formed in the same way as a deckchair.
Pay for the beer and send flowers.
Introduce yourself as Richard.
Do not refer to what somebody did at a particular time in the past.
Remember, every Friday we used to go for a walk. I walked. You walked.
Everything in the past is irregular.
This steak is very good. Sit down.
There is no wine, but there is ice cream.
Eat slowly. I have many matches.

After a Beheading

When you have jumped the logging trains across the Hendersons and eaten

stray dog roasted on a brazier,
when you think that you can feel

the rasp of a freshly laundered pillow on your face and hear

the little song of halyards below your window at "The Limes"

but come round to the smell of petrol and the sherry-hollowed faces

of your dubious companions,
when you want to lie down in the soiled,

grey snow and never move again,
you will come to a five-gabled house

in the suburbs of a cutlery-making city and be embraced by a bearded man

with the build of a former athlete who smokes "El Corazon" cigars.

His wife will have perfect breasts and make the noise of a leopard sleeping.

Neither of them will ask you for your name.
You will be offered the use of a bathroom

where the towel-glare hurts your eyes,
the soap is labeled in Italian

and the cream suit on the warmed rail fits with sinister precision.

You will then be led into the dining room.
There will be beef Wellington and firm pears

and a jazz trio playing Monk on guitar and vibes.

There will be many fingerbowls.
Your host will say, "Eat . . . Drink . . ."

and as your hand hangs like a hawk above the confusion of forks

you will realize that this is where your journey starts.

Cabin Doors to Automatic

We take off in a lightning storm.
The big jets kick in and we climb through blue explosions;
below the fuselage, moonlight on the Solway Firth, the fields of Cumbria, our litel spot of erthe
that with the see embracéd is.

This is how we leave the world,
with the heart weeping,
and the hope that distance brings the solving wonder of one last clear view before that long sleep above the weather's changes.


Horace Odes 1:4

Spring and warm winds unlock the fist of winter.
Winches haul dry hulls down the beach.
The ploughman and his animals no longer love the stable and the fire.
The frost no longer paints the fields white.

The moon is overhead. Cytherean Venus dances with her girls. The Graces and the spirits of the trees and rivers stamp the earth while flaming Vulcan tours the massive thunder-forges of the Cyclops.

It's time to decorate your oiled hair with green myrtle or with flowers growing from the soft earth. It's time to find a shady spot and sacrifice a young goat to the woodland god.
Or kill a lamb if that is what he wants.

Death's sickly face appears at the doors of shacks and palaces. Rich Sestius,
this short life makes a joke of long hopes.
Pluto's shadow hall, those ghosts you read about in stories, and that final night

will soon be snapping at your heels.
And then you won't be throwing knuckle-bones to win the job of drinking-master,
or ogling pretty Lycidas, who'll drive men wild until he's big enough for girls.

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