The Porpoise

Narrated by: Tim McInnerny
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Porpoise, written by Mark Haddon. 

‘I really am so very, very sorry about this,’ he says, in an oddly formal voice.... They strike the side of a grain silo. They are travelling at 70 miles per hour.

A newborn baby is the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash.

She is raised in wealthy isolation by an overprotective father. She knows nothing of the rumours about a beautiful young woman, hidden from the world.

When a suitor visits, he understands far more than he should. Forced to run for his life, he escapes aboard The Porpoise, an assassin on his tail.... 

So begins a wild adventure of a novel, damp with salt spray, blood and tears. A novel that leaps from the modern era to ancient times; a novel that soars, and sails, and burns long and bright; a novel that almost drowns in grief yet swims ashore; in which pirates rampage, a princess wins a wrestler’s hand, and ghost women with lampreys’ teeth drag a man to hell - and in which the members of a shattered family, adrift in a violent world, journey towards a place called home.

©2019 Mark Haddon (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Porpoise

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Mostly boring and confusing

The initial plot sourds promising but two other are weaved into it. Wonderful descriptions but I quickly lost interest.

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Fabulous!

Wonderful! Really got into it. Beautifullly written. Highly recommend it to all who like a good drama.

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  • James D
  • 05-15-19

A Stunning Novel

The Porpoise is truly immersive. It's a transporting novel which demands your full attention... time slips and folds in an often dream-like way, but you're never left comfortable for long... episodes of action and violence punctuate the flow. By the close of the novel (and it's an unexpectedly emotional one) you're utterly engrossed, wishing it didn't have to end. This novel is a departure for Haddon, highly recommended & extremely powerful.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Grant Garden
  • 08-16-19

Beautiful prose. Beautifully read.

This is my first book by Mark Haddon. I found it strange, disturbing, confusing, compelling. Tim McInnerny’s reading of it is superb. Faultless. Brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marie Čechová
  • 06-03-19

Thrilling imaginative adventure with a lot to say

I got recommended this book by a friend and we were talking about the myth and the play before I read it. That said by the end, the jumps between timelines are such an integral part of this specific story that I cannot imagine it being told in any other way. The storytelling is very adventurous and keeps the reader tightly watching all that happens never revealing too much, even leaving the main characters nameless for a while if the atmosphere demands it. It also uses images and symbolism and makes them real in the sense that what the characters feel is as much reality as anything else, even if the reader is aware they are in a delusional state. There is a lot of mirroring of realitionship and family ties, strengthened with said symbolism of a sea, a porpoise, a coffin, a deer, a storm. My favourite parts are the ones that suddenly but completely soundly delve into very difficult themes of abuse and trauma by showing the characters figuring out their personal journey in the world. It's all very cleverly done, read the book. I listened to it three times in a row.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ML
  • 05-31-19

Compelling

This is a compelling listen, taking you to different places and building over time. Loved it.

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  • TicTacToe
  • 04-14-20

Well written and told but confusing story

A story which spans past and present and interweaves Ancient Greece and present day day Europe. Interesting story , well told but at times confusing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MR
  • 01-09-20

Fairy tales of the migrating spirit

Sorry if that sounds pretentious but this novel imagines the wanderings of lost souls in the cycle of death and rebirth so compellingly that such a title seems appropriate. All the more startling and seductive for being told in the context of our own western cultural dreamworlds, the book is both delightful and scary at some deep level of consciousness. Like a previous reviewer I found the experience addictive and felt the need for more when the tale was over, but maybe that just reflects a clinging to the glittering life of the world as it fades. What a magician the author is to conjure such visions out of the thin air of a flight to nowhere.

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  • E Smith
  • 06-29-19

Amazing

A very cleverly written book. Enjoyed every minute. Mark Haddon. Is a genius. I’ve just finished The Pier Falls and would recommend that too.

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  • Waggy From Derby
  • 08-05-19

has he lost his mind?

I hated the opening scene, hated even more the rapist incestuous murderous father. I worry that such horrific stuff can be written. it certainly is not what I want to read, I even ask Should it be published? Terrible, Terrible and even more Terrible

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  • Sararara
  • 05-21-19

Not what I hoped

I really wish that the story had stuck with Angelica’s tale rather than sailing off with Pericles. The beginning is a brilliant contemporary reworking of the tale but it falls apart when things warp and shift aboard The Porpoise. Such a shame. It just turns into a straight narration of Pericles’ tale for the majority of the book (yawn) with some curious interludes featuring Shakespeare. More contemporary storytelling and more magical realism please.

2 people found this helpful

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  • rosie123
  • 09-12-20

Exquisite writing

I never get tired of hearing the threads of these familiar stories woven together into new cloth. The quality of the writing is a sheer joy and the way in which the familiar tales are presented leads the listener/ reader into nevertheless hoping each twist and turn will lead to a happy ending. I've listened to this twice now and I still find myself listening almost as if for the first time..

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  • Graeme H
  • 08-29-19

A thrilling reimagining of an ancient story.

It is hard to overstate just how good this book is. A retelling of the story of Pericles, it is both an ode to storytelling itself and, by the end, a very complex piece about resistance and survival. The performance by Tim McInnerny is a thing of beauty in its own right.