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Publisher's Summary

WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD • This enchanting tale of a cursed mythical creature and the lonely fisherman who falls in love with her is "a daring, mesmerizing novel … single-handedly bringing magic realism up-to-date (Maggie O’Farrell, best-selling author of Hamnet).

In 1976, David is fishing off the island of Black Conch when he comes upon a creature he doesn’t expect: a mermaid by the name of Aycayia. Once a beautiful young woman, she was cursed by jealous wives to live in this form for the rest of her days. But after the mermaid is caught by American tourists, David rescues and hides her away in his home, finding that, once out of the water, she begins to transform back into a woman.

Now David must work to win Aycayia's trust while she relearns what it is to be human, navigating not only her new body but also her relationship with others on the island—a difficult task after centuries of loneliness. As David and Aycayia grow to love each other, they juggle both the joys and the dangers of life on shore. But a lingering question remains: Will the former mermaid be able to escape her curse? Taking on many points of view, this mythical adventure tells the story of one woman’s return to land, her healing, and her survival.

©2022 Monique Roffey (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A vivid phantasmagorical fairy tale . . . With a lilting patois and rollicking prose, Roffey evokes the Antillean settings, characters, and culture. This makes for an entrancing siren song.”Publishers Weekly

“Full of lean, elegant, evocative prose that never overstays its welcome or drifts too far from its narrative, this finely honed novel about belonging, alienation and the enduring power of stories moves with the breathtaking rush of an ocean wave. . . . Like her title character, Roffey’s prose is a shape-shifting, living thing, moving through emotional highs and lows with an almost mercurial grace. Roffey achieves this flow state with astonishing economy, which enables her to linger on existential questions. . . . A gripping dark fairy tale that any fan of contemporary fantasy will happily swim through.”—Matthew Jackson, BookPage

“A searing blend of Caribbean magical realism and contemporary examination of misogyny and the reverberations of colonial oppression . . . Roffey’s fable is a moving love story, full of messy, glorious eroticism, but she also shines a light on the dangers of toxic masculinity, racial inequity and the difficulty of understanding our true natures.”—Connie Ogle, Star Tribune

What listeners say about The Mermaid of Black Conch

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Merwoman

It’s a Great story
Wonderful voices
Short short story
Should be a podcast
Thank you

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So different a story!

This story was well read and well told. In the beginning it was a little hard to follow the dates of the events. Once I paid better attention it was much easier. It is very different than anything else I have read or listened to, but it was oh, so enjoyable.