“We are, I know not why, double within us.”

Haddon croppedMark Haddon’s extraordinary novel The Red House appears to be built on the ideas and style of the essays written by Michel de Montaigne in the 1500s, and I can’t think of a better, more inventive, choice. As we see with the “double within ourselves” line, he quotes Montaigne directly, and embraces the idea that everyone possesses “a darker self kept at bay by circumstances” (p. 159) as a central theme in this novel. Stylistically, he uses the Montaignean technique of being willing to follow thoughts where they lead. A final Montaigne trademark: he raises more questions than he answers.

Mark Haddon, The Red House (London: Vintage Books, 2013), p. 314.

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