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The Crack Magazine


The Porpoise

Mark Haddon, Chatto & Windus

Mark Haddon, of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ fame, has pulled several rabbits out of several hats with his latest novel. It begins with a plane crash. The only survivor is a baby, Angelica, who we follow as she is brought up by her globetrotting, multi-millionaire father. We soon discover however, there are worse things to survive than a plane crash. So far, so gripping. But then Haddon pulls an audacious switcheroo by having the narrative flip back to Ancient Greece and the story of Pericles. The story then alternates between these two strands; and, if they weren’t enough, the author manages to keep another plate spinning by adding in walk-on parts for Shakespeare and George Wilkins, alleged co-authors of ‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre’. It may sound convoluted but the author’s storytelling gifts really pull readers into these worlds, and the echoes – of missing family members, abused daughters and people on the run – resonate long after the satisfying conclusion.