The Porpoise

Mark Haddon. Doubleday, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54431-3
The latest from Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) is an artfully crafted story of layered lives. Uberwealthy Philippe finds out his wife, Maja, has died in a plane crash, though the baby she was carrying, Angelica, is saved. Philippe’s grief takes a darker, sexual turn, and he begins molesting Angelica when she’s a young girl. Their reclusive existence is eventually intruded upon by a young man named Darius, who arrives with a business proposition for Philippe when Angelica is 16. Angelica sees the young man as her savior, until Philippe attacks him and drives him away; Darius escapes to a ship called the Porpoise. The tale then shifts into mythical territory, transmogrifying Darius into Pericles, Prince of Tyre, and his adventures—mostly mirroring those depicted in the play Pericles, Prince of Tyre, which is at least partially attributed to Shakespeare—take him through ocean voyages and fierce battles. As the novel moves back and forth between present and past, female characters of Pericles’s story are sometimes depicted as distant relatives of Angelica, and her modern-day traumas with Philippe are woven throughout, building both story lines to startling, disparate conclusions. Haddon’s ambitious tale captures the ethos of tragic Shakespearean vibrations and the tangle of lives that magically intersect. The prose is exquisite and elevates this story that blends reality and mythology to great effect. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/14/2019
Release date: 06/18/2019
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-385-69267-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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