The Mermaid of Black Conch
The paperback rights for The Mermaid of Black Conch have been acquired by Vintage, so this title will shortly be unavailable - snap up your original edition now! Jeremy Poynting at Peepal Tree Press says: ‘We will always be proud that we recognised immediately what a powerful novel The Mermaid was and that we enjoyed with Monique Roffey its well deserved success. For us, authors always come first, so we knew that it was in Monique’s interests that the rights to her novel should go to Vintage.’

Monique Roffey
ISBN number
Fiction, Novel
Country setting
Imaginary Caribbean
Publication date
02 Apr 2020

Winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award

Winner of Costa Novel of the Year
Shortlisted For the Republic of Consciousness Prize
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize
Longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

April 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.

But her fascination is her undoing. She hears his boat’s engine again and follows it, and finds herself at the mercy of American tourists, landed on the island for the annual fishing competition. After a fearsome battle, she is pulled out of the sea and strung up on the dock as a trophy. It is David who rescues her, and gently wins her trust – as slowly, painfully, she starts to transform into a woman again. But transformations are not always permanent, and jealousy, like love, can have the force of a hurricane, and last much longer

The novel’s characters are an unlikely mix: a mermaid, a fisherman, a deaf boy, a Caribbean artist and sweetman and a benevolent white landowner. Miss Arcadia Rain’s own love story is interwoven with Aycayia and David’s and the rivalries and affections in both family and community are brought brilliantly to life. Themes of unconditional love, friendship, family and loss, are examined without sentimentality. Roffey manages to write convincingly about a mermaid, a 'legend drawn from the sea', returned to land, to survive, heal and live again, as a real woman in modern times.

Looking for the ebook or audiobook? Head over to Amazon.





Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born British writer of novels, essays, a memoir and literary journalism. Her novels have been translated into five languages and shortlisted for several major awards and, in 2013, Archipelago won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature. With the Kisses of His Mouth and The Tryst are works which examine female sexuality and desire. Her essays have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Boundless magazine, The Independent, Wasafiri, and Caribbean Quarterly. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

View full profile
Reviews for The Mermaid of Black Conch