You can’t choose your family – but you can choose, perhaps despite your better judgment, to spend a week with them.

After their mother’s death, Richard rents a remote Welsh cottage to share with his sister Angela and their partners and children, with the aim of patching up their relationship.

The four adults and four children all come with their burdens – Angela haunted by Karen, the stillborn daughter whose birthday falls the week of the holiday, newly married doctor Richard facing a disciplinary hearing at work, Angela’s husband Dominic grappling with a secret affair, and their teenage children working out what kind of adults they might become. Vulnerable eight-year-old Benjy is left as the lone voice of reason in the whirling maelstrom of emotions.

Mark Haddon has a ventriloquist’s touch and writes with economical beauty.

He has struck gold with The Red House, which deserves to be as big a hit as his previous best-seller The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time. A must-read.