“Staggeringly ambitious, innovative, beautifully written. . .The Porpoise has the pace of a really good thriller, combined with a subtlety and depth that few thrillers possess.”



The Porpoise is the latest book from the bestselling writer of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon. Unlike The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, however, Mark Haddon’s The Porpoise is written for an adult audience rather than a young adult one and, therefore, the story contains mature themes, including; violence, sex, and Lolita-like inferences.

The plot itself is based on the intriguing myth of Pericles/ Apollonius of Tyre, a tale which has been retold many times over the years, including a play titled “Pericles, Prince of Tyre”, written by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins.

While the names and details of the story have changed over time and with each different adaptation, the themes and ideas have stayed the same. This time, the author Mark Haddon has taken this folktale and made it his own with a modern subplot, making reference to the texts he used for research at the end of his book in a sources section.

The Porpoise opens with excitement and action from page one as a plane plummets from the sky leaving a man without his wife and a newborn baby without her mother, it is here the myth begins in the modern day. Soon, the story’s hero sets sail on ‘The Porpoise’ and the modern day becomes blurred with a fantasy past and the exploration of mythical beings and fabled lands.

A bloody, savage, violent and vivacious plot juxtaposed with the stunning descriptions of fantasy oceans, lands, creatures and gods. This gripping, adventurous, and legendary book keeps its readers on their toes as it darts back and forth from the present to the mythical past weaving the plots together so that the line between these too soon becomes blurred.


Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog

Added 30th May 2019

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Catherine Muxworthy