The Porcupine

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The Porcupine
Author Julian Barnes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre novel, political novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 138 pp
ISBN 0-224-03618-1
Preceded by Talking It Over 1991
Followed by Cross Channel 1996

The Porcupine is a short novel by Julian Barnes originally published in 1992. Before its British release date the book was first published earlier that year in Bulgarian, with the title Бодливо свинче (Bodlivo Svinche) by Obsidian of Sofia.


Set in a post-communist fictional country, likely based on Bulgaria, the novel concerns the trial of Stoyo Petkanov, a character judged to be loosely based on Todor Zhivkov, the former communist leader of Bulgaria. As the newly appointed Prosecutor General attempts to ensnare the former dictator with his own totalitarian laws, Petkanov springs a few unwelcome surprises on the court by conducting a formidable defense.

The Times described the book as 'Superbly humane in its moral excellent novel'.