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The Mermaid of Black Conch

by Monique Roffey

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Sharing Diverse Voices

LoveReading View on The Mermaid of Black Conch

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.

Joanne Owen

The Mermaid of Black Conch Synopsis

March 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn't expect. Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David and his song.

The Mermaid of Black Conch Press Reviews

'Monique Roffey is a unique talent and most daring and versatile of writers' - Bernardine Evaristo

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781845234577
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

About 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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