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House of Ashes by Monique Roffey

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2014.

This is an amazing book. It is based on a coup in Trinidad but is actually set in a fictional Caribbean island, Sans Amen, where the rebels capture the ‘House of Power’ and the TV studios. The rebels are a motley bunch and their failure is obvious from the start but we follow two strong characters, a bookish man and a young idealist, Ashes and Breeze. Both are swayed by the rhetoric of the ‘Leader’. It is a sad coup but a powerful tale. It flows with ease as the political aspects and the personal relationships are explored without a wasted word. A very fine book indeed.

The Costa Judges said Roffey's novel was “A tautly-constructed story which plots the violence and upheaval of revolution and its aftermath, it is both moving and memorable.”

If you like Monique Roffey you might also like to read books by Edwidge Danticat, Vaddey Ratner and Aminatta Forna.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. On a hot Caribbean afternoon in July, the naïve Ashes is gathered with his ‘brothers and sisters’ to hear their Leader pronounce something that has been promised and eagerly awaited. But now, with the pronouncement, Ashes begins to have doubts. Insurrection by the black man is a fine thing if really necessary, but what does necessity mean or entail? Roffey writes with eloquence about retribution and revolution, her pen pictures of the various characters visceral. The story of a siege at the House of Power is basically simple, but it works on various levels due to dynamic writing.
~ Carl Hughes


House of Ashes by Monique Roffey

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.

About the Author

Monique Roffey

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

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Monique Roffey

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