Vintage imprint Chatto & Windus will next year publish Mark Haddon's first novel in seven years - The Porpoise, an "ambitious and dazzling" novel based on the epic tale of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Promising "exhilarating adventure" over land, air and sea, The Porpoise is about "a journey like no other". According to Chatto, the "immersive" story will take readers from the present day to ancient times and back again, starting on a plane headed for disaster, switching to the open sea aboard a boat called The Porpoise, and ending with a dramatic chase through dense forest. The publisher said further, beyond all the dangers of the outside world, the novel warns that staying at home may be the most perilous thing of all.
Slated for publication on 9th May 2019, Clara Farmer acquired UK and Commonwealth (ex Canada) rights from Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander. Bill Thomas at Doubleday meanwhile acquired North American rights, with the book set to be a lead title for translation rights with Aitken Alexander Associates at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
The cover of The Porpoise has been designed by Suzanne Dean, with illustration by artist David Cass.
Farmer told readers to expect to be "astonished and surprised" by Haddon’s "wild ride of a novel", which simultaneously manages to be both physically powerful and deeply affecting. "It’s a story to experience and be completely immersed in – from the smell of the diesel, to the sea-salt spray of the ocean, or the sweat and grime of a wrestling match to win the hand of a princess," she said. "But for all its physical power this is at heart a deeply affecting and beautifully-written tale about a family (a woman, a man and a child), apparently lost to one another, who must journey through an unstable world, to find a place they can call home."
Haddon is best known for his 2003 Whitbread Award-winning novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, published by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling, and subsequently adapted in 2012 by Simon Stephens for the stage. His most recent novel The Red House was released in 2012 by Cape and his debut collection of short stories followed with the same publisher in 2016. Most recently, he wrote and illustrated a short story that appeared alongside Virginia Woolf’s first story for the press in Two Stories (Hogarth, 2017).
He said: "After The Pier Falls was published, my agent commented that I write novels in which nothing happens and short stories in which everything happens. In The Porpoise I seem to have combined both models and written a novel in which everything happens."