‘Just downright brilliant... a transcendent, transporting experience’ Observer
A motherless girl grows up in isolated luxury, hidden from the world by her wealthy father. She believes their life together is normal – but as time passes, she has a growing sense that something between them is very wrong.
She cannot escape, so she seeks solace in her books. Her favourite tales are those that conjure ancient worlds – of angry gods and heroic mortals, one of whom will some day come to her rescue.
Soon, she will forget where the page ends and her mind begins.
‘A full-throttle blast of storytelling mastery’ Max Porter
"Wondrous... a violent, all-action thrill ride shuttling between antiquity and the present... just downright brilliant... a transcendant, transporting experience... A helix, a mirror ball, a literary box of tricks… take your pick: this is a full-spectrum pleasure, mixing metafictional razzmatazz with pulse-racing action and a prose style to die for. I’ll be staggered if it’s not spoken of whenever prizes are mentioned this year"
"A beautifully rendered retelling…[and] a gripping novel that, despite its rollicking plot, never feels relentless, and is often very affecting indeed"
"The extraordinary force and vividness of Haddon's prose ensure that The Porpoise reads [...] as a continually unfolding demonstration of the transporting power of stories... This is language that knows how to do things: sail a ship, make a gold buckle, negotiate the tides of the Thames. It's a stunningly effective combination of the quotidian and the mythic that pins impossibility to the page"
"Compelling, satisfying and moving... Haddon's writing is exquisite, balancing simple storytelling with searing insight"
"The Porpoise is terrifically violent, with a bright, innocent ferocity … Haddon wants to restore agency to the female characters sidelined by the Antiochus legend. This could feel like a condescending attempt to end up on the right of history, but doesn’t"
Mark Haddon tells Katy Brand how art inspires him – choosing objects including an oil painting and a David Hockney print.
Michael Morpurgo talks to Katy Brand about his retelling of Raymond Briggs' classic, The Snowman