Reviews

  • 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

    Anthony Cummins, Observer
  • A beautifully rendered retelling…[and] a gripping novel that, despite its rollicking plot, never feels relentless, and is often very affecting indeed

    Jon Day, Financial Times
  • 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

    Justine Jordan, Guardian
  • Compelling, satisfying and moving... Haddon's writing is exquisite, balancing simple storytelling with searing insight

    Paul Connolly, Metro
  • 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

    Katy Waldman, The New Yorker
  • Told in Haddon’s generously telegraphic prose – onparticularly good form here – [...] The Porpoise is a defiantly odd novel, dependent on the fine caul of Haddon’s prose to keep together the heavily spiced romantic mixture within… Haunted not just by its direct source but by Ovid and others, the novel exists in a world of old magic, of stories within stories, and webs of allusion that would crumble swiftly if mishandled, but which, here, weave their spell marvellously well

    Tim Smith-Laing, Daily Telegraph
  • [The Porpoise] races across the oceans: it is a book of thrilling, salt-caked adventures that scintillate like sunlight on the surface of the sea. There are plagues and famines and sword fights with not-quite human adversaries. There are desperate escapes and terrible family separations and dramatic recognitions. It is a breathless, delightful, utterly absorbing read

    The Guardian
  • The Porpoise by Mark Haddon is the book I’ve recommended the most this year because it’s the one I had the most fun with. It kept shifting as I read it, changing from action to romance to science-fiction. It’s dizzying

    Stuart Turton, Observer, *Books of the Year*
  • Beguiling...ambitious...bold... Haddon's prose is beautiful, and he is utterly in command of his slippery material... An elegant homage to stories' capacity for endless renewal

    Claire Allfree, Evening Standard
  • Beautifully written

    Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Times

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