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The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
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The Mermaid of Black Conch

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The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
Jul 12, 2022 | ISBN 9780593534205

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  • Jul 12, 2022 | ISBN 9780593534205

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“[The Mermaid of Black Conch] is a strange and 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 (UK)

“Every sentence in Monique Roffey’s extraordinary book is alive with fluming, amphibious intelligence and alert to the blessing, and the curse, of love in a life of flux. A new sea hymnal to challenge, and change, the old dark songs that humans know by heart.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Orange World and Other Stories
“I absolutely devoured The Mermaid of Black Conch. It’s wonderful, immersive, evocative . . . A masterclass of world-building.”—Bridget Collins, author of The Binding
“Stunning . . . A mesmerising read.”—Nathan Filer, 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

“Once I had started it . . . I couldn’t stop. It was quite unlike anything I’d ever read. Such brilliant mythmaking; such powerful storytelling. The account of the mermaid’s capture was agonising to read – a feminist reframing of all those Great American Novels about men and the sea. Monique Roffey managed to say so much about society’s treatment of difference, enslavement, exploitation of the natural world, sexual politics, but without ever sermonising or compromising the storytelling.”—Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
“[The Mermaid of Black Conch] is a daring, mesmerising novel that continually unseats expectation – I was deliciously unsure, throughout, what would happen next. With her fierce and shape-shifting 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, The Observer, “Summer Reads to Get Lost In”
“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.”—Suzannah Lipscomb, chair of Costa Book Awards Judges, 2020
“A joy to read, brimming with memorable characters and vivid descriptions. . . . For me, this was a hugely entertaining and thought-provoking novel.”—Rebecca Jones, BBC News
“Not your standard mermaid. No comb and glass, no Lorelei hair. No catch and release.”—Margaret Atwood, author of The Testaments, via Twitter
“[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, author of Girl, Woman, Other
“At last we have Monique Roffey to unhook woman from legend and bring tired myth into the realm of flesh and blood and sex. The Mermaid of Black Conch plunges fearlessly into the deeps of misogyny, colonial violence, friendship, jealousy, and erotic love in a reading experience as captivating as a tropical storm. Full-throated and mesmerizing.”—C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold

“Wonderfully written, with both soul and intense drama – it glistens almost, like the mermaid!”—Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

The Mermaid of 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, author of The Little Snake
“Monique Roffey is a writer of verve, vibrancy and compassion, and her work is always a joy to read.”—Sarah Hall, author of Burntcoat
The Mermaid of Black Conch is like a lost myth, found, and made fresh again for our times.”—Tessa McWatt, author of Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging

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