Reading Group Center

The Porpoise

By Mark Haddon

1. Pericles, by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins, is not a very popular play and is not performed very often these days. Why do you think the author decided to use it as raw material for a novel?

2. Why do you think the novel begins in the present day and then shifts two thousand years into the past?

3. How much of the story do you think is in Angelica’s imagination?

4. When he is escaping on his friend’s yacht, Darius turns into Pericles. How many other characters in the present-day narrative have twins or doppelgängers in the narrative set in the past?

5. Who are the most powerful characters in the novel, the men or the women?

6. What is the role of the supernatural in the novel? And are there any supernatural forces operating in the present-day narrative of Angelica and her father?

7. What does the encounter between William Shakespeare and George Wilkins add to the story?

8. Did Pericles learn anything on his adventures?

9. Is the ending of the novel happy, sad, or ambiguous?

10. What might happen to Pericles, Marina, Chloë / Emilia if their narrative were to continue for another thirty pages?