From the acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time comes this stunningly ambitious, fantastical novel that reworks Shakespeare's Pericles into a parable for today.
Mark Haddon's breathtaking novel begins with a harrowing plane crash: Maja, the pregnant wife of the unimaginably wealthy Philippe, is killed, but their daughter, Angelique, survives. Philippe's obsession with the girl's safety morphs into something sinister and grotesque. A young man named Darius, visiting Philippe with a business proposition, encounters Angelique and intuits their secret--he decides to rescue her, but the attempt goes awry.
This contemporary story mirrors the ancient Greek legend of Antiochus, whose love for the daughter of his dead wife was discovered by the adventurer Appolinus of Tyre. The tale appeared in many forms through the ages; Shakespeare transformed Appolinus into the swashbuckling Pericles in his play. In The Porpoise, as Angelique grapples with the wreck of her life, trapped on her father's estate, Darius morphs into Pericles, voyaging through a mythic world. In a bravura feat of storytelling, Haddon recounts his many exploits in thrilling fashion, mining the meaning of the old legends while creating parallels with the monstrous modern world Angelique inhabits. The language is rich and gorgeous; the conjured worlds are perfectly imagined; the plot moves forward at a ferocious pace.
But Haddon's themes are deeply urgent--the theft of female agency by rapacious men; the uses of archetypal stories to warp history and the present. As profound as it is entertaining, The Porpoise is a major literary achievement by an author whose myriad talents are on full, vivid display.