Chapter 12

This is, of course, yet another chapter of plotless la-la land. I don't like these. They make Christopher's stated reason for writing the book totally unbelievable, and they're not necessary or good writing. The advice I always see is to reveal character through elements of a scene, not through infodumps. In this book, the thoughts of the POV character are largely separated from the events, which causes both to be dull and uninteresting.

I do not tell lies. Mother used to say that this was because I was a good person. But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I can't tell lies.

This is a strange distinction. He seems to be saying that his inability to lie is superficial and not the result of some personality trait, but his earlier rants about lying suggest otherwise. Honesty is considered one of the traits of a "good person". Does he mean that his unwillingness to lie is completely divorced from the rest of his character? That isn't how I see it in myself. I can't lie because I won't lie, because it clashes too strongly with my moral code -- not because I am under the influence of some truth-telling spell. Like Christopher, there are some things I instinctively consider "lies" even though they are technically not, but they are of a different nature: for example, dying one's hair is a lie because the natural color of it cannot be eradicated and is being dishonestly concealed. Not only do I dislike lying, but I seek to discover and preserve the truth. I can be passionately, irrationally curious, and I cling to the past when it inevitably slips away. Perhaps this is only my interpretation, but in my mind these things are all connected, branches on the same tree. Lying is the tip of the iceberg. Haddon would have us believe that the iceberg does not exist.

Mother was a small person who smelled nice. And she sometimes wore a fleece with a zip down the front which was pink and it had a tiny label which said Berghaus on the left bosom.

Was the zipper or the coat pink? I've stopped commenting on the clunky prose, but it hasn't stopped being clunky.

A lie is when you say something happened which didn't happen.

Yes, I gathered that. He's not going to shut up about this idiocy, is he? You do realize it's possible to use this definition of "lie" to dishonestly accuse someone of lying?

But there is only ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And there are an infinite number of things which didn't happen at that time and that place. And if I think about something which didn't happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn't happen.

What the hell? It was all Captain Obvious until the last sentence, and then we slid right off the train tracks into the ditch.

For example, this morning for breakfast I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milk shake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea I start thinking about Coco Pops and lemonade and porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn't eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn't a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn't wearing a diving suit and so on and even writing this makes me shaky and scared, like I do when I'm standing on the top of a very tall building and there are thousands of houses and cars and people below me and my head is so full of all these things that I'm afraid that I'm going to forget to stand up straight and hang on to the rail and I'm going to fall over and be killed.


I don't even know what to say to this. I have never experienced anything like what he is describing. I can't fathom it. It's just bizarre. I kind of know what he means about tall buildings, but the rest of it is seriously out to lunch.

He doesn't literally mean all the things that didn't happen. He can't think of all of them at once. This annoys me, and it should annoy him even more. This is par for the course.

"Shreddies and a mug of tea" has this footnote: "But I wouldn't have Shreddies and tea because they are both brown." What's he got against brown? They're not even the same shade of brown. Shreddies are more on the beige side, and tea comes in various different colors. I always thought repulsive colors had to be a specific shade. Some colors are nicer than others, but any of them can look good under the right circumstances.

This is another reason why I don't like proper novels, because they are lies about things which didn't happen and they make me feel shaky and scared.

More alien thinking. It's like he's explaining why the sky is evil because it's blue. It isn't even consistent because he says he likes murder mysteries, and those aren't any truer than other novels. Does anyone even think this way? Does anyone not only consider novels to be lies, but find them frightening because of it? If there's anyone like that, I'd bet a lot it's caused by something other than Asperger syndrome.

I don't consider works of fiction to be lies because, while they are deliberately false, they are not intended to be believed. Intent to deceive is the point. I dislike misleading truths for the same reason. How does Christopher feel about that sort of thing? He'd probably be fine with it if his statements about lying are anything to go by.

And this is why everything I have written here is true.

That's what you think. Haven't you ever heard of solipsism? Haven't you ever wondered if your own senses are "lying"? You should be paranoid.

This chapter demonstrates an offensively poor understanding of the honesty trait. It is Haddon's wild, unfounded speculation about the thought process associated with our aversion to lying, and as far as I know, it has no basis in reality whatsoever.

< Chapter 11 | Chapter 13 >

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This page was last modified on 01/07/2016 (dmy).