Mer-beings among Us

Written by Betsy Nies for Wasafiri on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Roffey’s love story, then, is not just a romance but something far more, something deep and textured about the fallibility of human beings and the desire to love regardless. For inspiration she credits Pablo Neruda’s poem ‘The Mermaid and the Drunks’, a local ‘strange, but true’ fishing story from Tobago, the Taíno myth, and what she calls the ‘catch scene’ in Ernest Hemingway’s Island in the Stream. With dual citizenship in Trinidad and the UK, Roffey travels between worlds, easily dipping back into her past to create a believable present in which mermaids walk on land and lonely people find relief from their pain. The book is a great pleasure to read — alternating between what some might view as unbelievable worlds and the reality of tensions between individuation, commitment, and societal control. Sensual, engaging, Roffey’s book is not for those who love hard endings, but instead for those who enjoy the pleasure of surprise.