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Monique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born writer. Her novels have been translated into five languages and short-listed for major awards including the Orange Prize, COSTA Fiction Award, Encore Award, and the Orion Award. In 2013, Archipelago won the OCM Bocas Award for Caribbean Literature. Her memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth, was published in 2011. She is a Lecturer on the MFA in the Novel at Manchester Metropolitan University. She divides her time between the East end of London and Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Author photo © Marlon James
From the author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and Archipelago comes what might be Monique Roffey’s most ambitious and accomplished novel yet. It’s a feat of invention – a brilliant interweaving of mermaid myth and the effects of colonial legacies on modern life. The time and place is 1976 in a small fishing village on the island of Black Conch. David is out strumming his guitar, hoping for a catch when he attracts the attention of Aycaycia, a beautiful woman whom jealous wives cursed to live as a mermaid. Some weeks later Aycaycia is caught by American tourists out on a fishing trip. Seen as source of cash, she’s strung up by them, then rescued by David. While in his care, she begins to transform back into a woman. Blending myth and history, magic and reality, this multi-voiced, multi-textured novel (it features journal excerpts and verse) tells a rich tale of love, jealousy and freedom, exposing racism, oppression and gender inequalities through its otherworldly cloak. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Jane and Bill, a London couple whose relationship is enduring the pressures of time but harbours some element of dissatisfaction, come across Lilah in a pub. She is sex incarnate, a creature of a thousand temptations, and her allure instantly attracts both of them. They invite her back to their home and we are introduced to a veritable bacchanal of an odyssey of sex, taboo-breaking and the most devious of psychological manipulations as seductions follow in quick succession and a point of no return is soon reached. For Lilah is a supernatural sprite and predator intent on dominating both men and women in a runaround dance of emotions, lust and extremes which sees the married couple suffer all the possible permutations from desire to hate as they regress to their primal nature. A curious erotic novel from a prize-winning established novelist hitherto working in different areas of the novel and none the worse for it. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2014. The City of Silk is seething. The corrupt government has been ruling over the people too long and the city is becoming restless. Then one hot evening The Leader, a head of a group of rebels, gathers his followers and tells them: 'Today, we will be making history. For ourselves, and our fellow countrymen of Sans Amen.' And so a ragtag collection of men and boys take up arms and storm two of the most important buildings in the city: the house of power and the television studios. Together they will take back what is rightfully theirs. Caught up in the madness is Ashes. A bookish, learned man, he has been swept up by The Leader's powerful rhetoric. But now that words have turned to action he is not so sure anymore. And trapped inside the government building with the rebels is Aspasia. A proud woman, a mother of boys, she sees much of her sons in these boys with guns in their hands and power in their eyes. A powerful, evocative and important novel from the author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle.
Winner of the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. The author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle takes us on a voyage through the Caribbean and Panama to the Galapagos, as a father and daughter confront loss and deepen their relationship. Full of the wonder of the sea and wildlife, evocative and rich, it is a most enjoyable read. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers.
Shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. Set in the lush surroundings of Trinidad this story follows the marriage of a couple who despite their love for each other find they have gradually slipped away from each other. Will their love be strong enough to bring everything right or there too many other factors in the way? Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. “A very unusual and very vivid book… It’s completely original, a richly imagined portrait of a country. Once you’ve read it you’ll want to go to Trinidad. It’s extraordinary.” Daisy Goodwin (Orange Prize for Fiction 2010 judging panel) Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers.
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2014. The City of Silk is restless, its people suffering in the grip of corruption. Then, one hot July evening, The Leader gathers his followers, a brotherhood of half-trained men and boys, and storms the House of Power. Together they intend to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs. Caught up in the mayhem is quiet, scholarly Ashes. He had been inspired by The Leader's charisma, but now that words have turned to action he's not so sure about this insurrection. And trapped with the rebel boy soldiers is government minister Aspasia Garland. The mother of a son the same age as the teenage gunmen, she sees much of her child in these boys with guns. As the siege continues, the city holds its breath. For what happens over the next six days will change the small island's future forever...