• The Porpoise

  • A Novel
  • By: Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by: Tim McInnerny
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (162 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a bravura feat of storytelling, Mark Haddon calls upon narratives ancient and modern to tell the story of Angelica, a young woman trapped in an abusive relationship with her father. When a young man named Darius discovers their secret, he is forced to escape on a boat bound for the Mediterranean. To his surprise, he finds himself travelling backward over 2,000 years to a world of pirates and shipwrecks, of plagues and miracles and angry gods. 

Moving seamlessly between the past and the present, Haddon conjures the worlds of Angelica and her would-be savior in thrilling fashion. As profound as it is entertaining, The Porpoise is a stirring and endlessly inventive novel from one of our finest storytellers. 

©2019 Mark Haddon (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This audiobook is a perfect storm in which the beautiful yet brutal powers of author Mark Haddon and narrator Tim McInnerny collide in an awesome display.... If this doesn't sound like a 'light beach listen,' you're right. But you WILL listen on the beach. And in your car. And on your run. And anywhere and any chance you get. Because once you begin the voyage that is this novel, McInnerny's gale-force narration will drive you on." (AudioFile Magazine)

"An artfully crafted story of layered lives...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." (Publishers Weekly)

"A full-throttle blast of storytelling mastery. Ancient and modern overlap in exhilarating ways, it's like romping through a literary Netflix: an episode of something historical and bloody, then something slick and contemporary, then something really weird and unnerving.... The Porpoise is a joy to read." (Max Porter, author of the International Dylan Thomas Prize-winning Grief Is the Thing with Feathers)  

"Mark Haddon cuts down to the grittiness of humanity every time he writes. The Porpoise is a beautiful, unputdownable, ancient tangle with its own sweeping tides and dangerous depths." (Daisy Johnson, author of the Booker Prize finalist Everything Under)  

What listeners say about The Porpoise

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Smart and complex

This book reminds me of Cloud Atlas in many ways. It’s complicated timeline jumps, twisting the plot along a braided storyline. It can make the reader feel a little adrift at times, but then it weaves back to reveal the repeated theme or description. There are characters who are other characters...? There are stories that overlap other stories? As with Cloud Atlas, if you try to keep track of all the threads, you’ll be frustrated. It’s better to put your trust in this capable author and let the story unfold at its own pace. You’ll see the treads come back together by the end. This author is so smart, and puts his faith in a smart reader, not spelling out simplistic story lines and predictable gimmicks. The story is a bit dark, there are elements that need an adult perspective to evaluate. Yes, it’s got uncomfortable content, but the author presents them with a skewed perspective that makes a person take a step back and try to see them from the character’s point of view. I love this author, and am so glad this newest book is as smart and braided as it is. You’ll love this book if you’re looking for a journey, don’t expect a Ferris wheel.

7 people found this helpful

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Majestic, compelling, Haddon is brilliant

The only problem with reading a book as good as The Porpoise is that it ruins your subsequent readings. It takes awhile to forget how good Haddon's writing is and to accept lesser books as worthy to be read.



8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Mark Haddon is a master story teller! Tim McInnerny reads with compassion and conviction. I listen to a lot of audio books, I have no idea what to listen to next after this book. What can possibly compete?

6 people found this helpful

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Epic disappointment

Loved his other works and was thrilled he had something new to read.
This was horrendous. Narration was good. Listened to the whole thing waiting, waiting, waiting for the point.
It’s probably too high brow for me; I’m sure others like it. But i thought it was painful torture.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good parts, but lacking something as a whole

Haddon is a powerful writer and has a great imagination. The separate sections of the book are good in themselves. But they don't hang together very well. E.g. The scenes involving Shakespeare have only a slight and almost gratuitous connection to the main two story lines, which aren't very well connected themselves. Shades of Cloud Atlas, but not so well done.

1 person found this helpful

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"If you think this ends well...

... you haven't been paying attention. " I'm not sure some classics need retelling. It is written well, the performance is good.

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Haddon does it again

loved everything about the book. interesting juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary. beautifully read. I want more.

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What a fantastic book

Absolutely mesmerizing - wanted it to go on forever. Tim McInnerny is masterful and makes the story come alive. I think this book was meant to be listened to much like its source material

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Beautiful story.

Sad when it ended! Such a good read! Book kept me guessing the entire time.

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Very frustrating

Haddon is a strong writer, but this was an ultimately very frustrating book. The multiple narratives, of different timelines and not all of which were fleshed out well or fully, made it hard to get into the book and made for a disjointed experience.