The Mermaid of Black Conch

The Mermaid of Black Conch

A novel from the Vintage Earth collection


Escape to the ocean with the entrancing, unforgettable winner of the Costa Book of the Year - as read on BBC Radio 4.


On a quiet day, near the Caribbean island of Black Conch, a mermaid raises her barnacled head from the flat grey sea. She is attracted by David, a fisherman waiting for a catch, singing to himself with his guitar. Aycayia the mermaid has been living in the vast ocean all alone for centuries.

When Aycayia is caught and dragged ashore by American tourists, David rescues her with the aim of putting her back in the ocean. But it is soon clear that the mermaid is already transforming into a woman.

This is the story of their love affair, of an island and of the great wide sea.

'Mesmerising' Maggie O'Farrell author of The Marriage Portrait

'A unique talent' Bernadine Evaristo author of Girl, Women, Other

'Not your standard mermaid' Margaret Atwood author of The Testaments

VINTAGE EARTH is a series of books that reveals our ever-changing relationship with the environment. These are stories old and young, set in worlds real or imagined, that allow us to explore our connection to the natural world. Transformative, wild, surprising and essential, these novels take on the most urgent story of our times.


  • Bighearted . . . Sentence by sensuous sentence, Roffey builds a verdant, complicated world that it is a pleasure to live inside . . . A fairy tale. But it is a ghost story too
    New York Times

About the author

Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and lives in London. She is the author of seven novels and a memoir. The Mermaid of Black Conch won the Costa Book of the Year and the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize. Her other highly acclaimed books include Archipelago, which won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and House of Ashes. In addition to her work as an environmental activist, she is a professor of contemporary fiction at Manchester Metropolitan University.
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