The Mermaid of Black Conch

The Mermaid of Black Conch

A novel from the Vintage Earth collection

Summary

'His stomach trembled with desire and fear and wonder because he knew what he'd seen. A woman. Right there, in the water'

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
'A unique talent' Bernadine Evaristo
'Not your standard mermaid' Margaret Atwood

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.

Reviews

  • [A] beautiful book... Roffey's writing is lyrical and filled with magic, but there is plenty of bittersweet realism to ground it
    Sophie Dahl, Daily Mail

About the author

Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She is the author of six novels and a memoir. The Mermaid of Black Conch won the Costa Book of the Year and the Costa Novel Award 2020. It was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2021, the Goldsmiths Prize 2020 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize, the Ondaatje Prize and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2021. Her highly acclaimed previous books are sun dog, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2010), Archipelago (winner of the OCM Bocas Award for Caribbean Literature 2013), House of Ashes (shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2014), The Tryst and With the Kisses of His Mouth. Monique Roffey is a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and a tutor for the National Writers Centre.
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