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  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781529115499
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

The Mermaid of Black Conch

The spellbinding winner of the Costa Book of the Year as read on BBC Radio 4




Escape to the ocean this summer with the Costa Book of the Year 2020

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

'Mesmerising' MAGGIE O'FARRELL
'A unique talent' BERNARDINE EVARISTO
'Wonderful' BRIDGET COLLINS
'Brilliant' CLARE CHAMBERS

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.

When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully, she transforms into a woman again. Yet as their love grows, they discover that the world around them is changing - and they cannot escape the curse for ever . . .

'A bittersweet love story . . . A joy to read' BBC News

'A fiercely modern mermaid story' The Times
'Wondrous . . . A striking achievement' Sunday Times
'Not your standard mermaid' MARGARET ATWOOD

'Exquisite' ELIZABETH MACNEAL

  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781529115499
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and educated in the UK. Her highly acclaimed debut novel, Sun Dog, was published in 2002. Since then she has worked as a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation and has held the post of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Sussex and Chichester universities. She currently lives in Harlesden, north London, where she spends most of the day in her pyjamas, writing.

Praise for The Mermaid of Black Conch

The Mermaid of the Black Conch arrives bearing tragedy and beauty. Monique Roffey has created a new myth for an age of ruined oceans. She continues to be one of our most exciting new Caribbean voices

A.L. Kennedy

The Mermaid of Black Conch is wonderfully written, with both soul and intense drama - it glistens almost, like the mermaid! I love its all-round charisma and also its great compassion for both humanity and the natural world

Diana Evans

With easy prose and the tantalising story of a mermaid loved and feared in equal measure, [Roffey] draws the reader in... A book for our time

Ingrid Persaud

[Monique Roffey] is the most adventurous of writers and The Mermaid of Black Conch does not disappoint... this is a strange, haunting, original and memorable novel about Aycayia, a mermaid from deep history who is entrapped and taken out of the sea... This is a novel packed with layers of meaning around womanhood, alienation, masculinity, toxic attitudes towards women, and inter-female rivalry, as well as love, compassion and the search for home

Bernardine Evaristo

Monique Roffey is a unique talent and most daring and versatile of writers. I never know what to expect and I'm never disappointed

Bernardine Evaristo

Not your standard mermaid. No comb and glass, no Lorelei hair. No catch and release...

Margaret Atwood

Sensuous, beguiling but without whimsy, Roffey's tale convincingly transplants a mythical creature into a modern setting - a striking achievement...wondrous

Sunday Times

A fiercely modern mermaid story... Roffey subverts the fairtyale... The narrative is interspersed with poetry, journal entries, recollections and passages that give insight into various characters' perspectives; this entertaining novel, like Aycayia [the mermaid], is itself a shape-shifting curiosity.

The Times

Monique Roffey has a sharp, original way of looking at the world... an arrestingly poetic story

The Times

A dark love story between a fisherman and a mermaid torn from the sea... Touching on themes of love, loss, family and friendship, as well as the negative impacts of jealousy, it's a moving novel

Independent

An extraordinary, beautifully written, captivating, visceral book - full of mythic energy and unforgettable characters, including some tremendously transgressive women... It is utterly original - unlike anything we've ever read - and feels like a classic in the making from a writer at the height of her powers. It's a book that will take you to the furthest reaches of your imagination - we found it completely compelling

Costa Judges, 2020

Magical touches blend with precise realism in this bittersweet tale of a mermaid trying to put the sea behind her... What makes the novel sing is how Roffey fleshes out these mythical goings-on with pin-sharp detail from the real world, as Aycayia, hidden away in David's bedroom, navigates the perils (and pleasures) of life on land

Observer

I would definitely recommend The Mermaid of Black Conch...a bittersweet love story between a beautiful young woman cursed to live as a mermaid and a fisherman... a joy to read, brimming with memorable characters and vivid descriptions... a hugely entertaining and thought-provoking novel

Rebecca Jones, BBC News

Arresting... where can Aycayia [the mermaid] be most free, asks this truly original novel, deftly weaving myth, feminism, humour and social realism

Daily Mail

Monique Roffey is a writer of verve, vibrancy and compassion, and her work is always a joy to read

Sarah Hall

Sensuous, beguiling . . . Roffey's tale convincingly transplants a mythical creature into a modern setting . . . Wondrous

Sunday Times

A dark love story between a fisherman and a mermaid torn from the sea . . . Moving

Independent

Magical touches blend with precise realism in this bittersweet tale of a mermaid trying to put the sea behind her

Observer

Arresting . . . Truly original . . . deftly weaving myth, feminism, humour

Daily Mail

The tantalising story of a mermaid loved and feared in equal measure . . . A book for our time

Ingrid Persaud, author of Love After Love

Wonderfully written, with both soul and intense drama - it glistens almost, like the mermaid!

Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

Extraordinary, beautifully written . . . We found it completely compelling . . . It feels like a classic in the making

Costa Judges, 2020

Hugely entertaining . . . A joy to read, brimming with memorable characters

BBC News

A daring, mesmerising novel that continually unseats expectation - I was deliciously unsure, throughout, what would happen next. With her fierce and shapeshifting mermaid, Roffey has created a modern myth about belonging and the bonds humans form with each other and with their land, single-handedly bringing magic realism up to date

Maggie O'Farrell, No.1 bestselling author of Hamnet

A daring, mesmerising novel that continually unseats expectation... With her fierce and shapeshifting mermaid, Roffey has created a modern myth about belonging and the bonds human form with each other and with their land, single-handedly bringing magic realism up to date

Maggie O'Farrell, Observer, *Summer Reads of 2021*

About wonder, spectacle, as well as greed. The writing is exquisite

Elizabeth Macneal, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Doll Factory and Circus of Wonders

A reading experience as captivating as a tropical storm. Full-throated and mesmerizing

C. Pam Zhang, Booker-longlisted author of How Much of These Hills is Gold

Roffey doesn't limit herself to simple romance, but delves into themes of corruption, prejudice, ecology and more

Rihannon Thomas, Radio Times

Once I had started it, I couldn't stop. It was quite unlike anything I'd ever read. Such brilliant myth-making; such powerful storytelling

Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

Magical

Maggie O'Farrell, Sunday Times

Stunning . . . A mesmerising read

Nathan Filer, Costa-winning author of The Shock of the Fall

The novel is a unique Caribbean fable that takes the familiar story of a mermaid abruptly thrust onshore and brings it to a new place. It reads like the work of a novelist in command of her material and focused on using a mythic 'then' to speak to now

Malachi McIntosh, Fiction Chair, OCM Bocas Prize 2021

I absolutely devoured The Mermaid of Black Conch. It's wonderful, immersive, evocative... A masterclass of world-building

Bridget Collins, No.1 bestselling author of The Binding

A lyrical love story about a mermaid and a fisherman, but equally, transformation and ancient ways. It's exquisite

Sophie Dahl

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