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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  121 reviews
A mesmerizing tale of a father and daughter’s sailing adventure from Trinidad to the Galapagos Islands 

Monique Roffey, vibrant new voice in Caribbean fiction and author of the Orange Prize finalist The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, returns with Archipelago, a new novel that is a journey of redemption, healing, and hope in the wake of devastating loss.

When a flood destr
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published July 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  785 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sundaze2018
Found this at Dollar Tree right after arriving in Arizona in early November.

The story is stunning: told slowly, no tsunamis of information coming at us. We learn bit by bit why Gavin's life has gone out of control and we struggle along with him to find a way to recover some sort of normality for himself and his daughter.

Will his plan to sail to the Galapagos Islands with only his daughter and their dog be the right solution? He always wanted to go there, he used to talk about it with his buddy
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Monique Roffey in Archipelago shows storytelling at its best, as you do not notice how quickly you are getting into the guts of the book as the story is so engrossing.

This wonderful story of Gavin and his daughter Ocean, along with their dog Suzy running away from Trinidad to escaping what had been a terrible year for his family. His young son killed in a flood, his wife's nervous breakdown and the home he had to rebuild. The 12 months since disaster have not been good to Gavin or his daughter,
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
A man, his daughter, a dog and the sea. Simple elements in a simple story; moving over the sea can be lulling, where you're actually headed lost to you in its immensity.

In "Archipelago," a year after a catastrophic flood took the life of his son and led to the incapacitation of and separation from his wife, Gavin Weald takes his 6-year-old daughter, Ocean, and their dog, Suzy, away from their home in Trinidad and toward ... something. Actually, it's more of a flight from than a journey to. A yea
Wesley John
Having read Monique Roffey's last tome, With Kisses from his Mouth, I approached her latest oeuvre more in hope than expectation; Kisses was largely autobiographical, whereas Archipelago is a return to her Alma Mater, fiction. Sure enough Roffey narrates a story with a sure footedness & balance that was only fleetingly present in Kisses.
Once again she mines her (bottomless) seam of loss, but the loss of a child is far more comprehensible, and she uses the conceit of travel (i.e. road movie ) as
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we meet Gavin he is a broken man, struggling with grief after a terrible tragedy, drowning under the pressure of trying to raise his six year old daughter, Ocean, alone and floundering in a job he no longer cares about. In time, it all becomes too much for him to bear, and one day he walks out of his job, picks up his daughter and dog, and sets sail in his old boat, which had been unused and neglected ever since his marriage. Together this bruised and battered remnants of a family sail from ...more
Christopher Gutierrez
3.5/5 - Archipelago by Monique Roffey

This book brought me immense nostalgia, sadness, and joy.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on my time spent with sailors and students aboard the vessel, Lady Maryland, last summer, and how that experience directly paralleled with "Archipelago." I loved going through the journey of sailing that Roffrey set in place for the reader, her descriptions of the sea--how it is not hesitant to change moods, how the vicissitudes will always ebb and flow, how humans love
Shonna Froebel
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This novel begins a year after Gavin's home was hit by a destructive wave of water during a storm, damaging the home badly and dealing a debilitating blow to his family. As the rainy season begins again, Gavin's six-year-old daughter Océan begins having nightmares about the events that changed her life, and Gavin finds himself still stuck in the depression that has been with him since that day. He makes a spontaneous decision to take his old sailbook Romany and head west from his home in Trinida ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, arc-netgalley, 2013

I just couldn't get through this book, not after reading September Girls and suffering through that. I was expecting an inspiring journey of a father and her daughter but what I got was boring monologue that consisted of the most random, detailed and absurd thoughts ever.

I mean the father literally thought that pissing was like a
... strange dull orgasm

This is a 40 year old man we're talking about. Do I really want to know about this? He's peeing and then also thinking about having sex with t
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel seeped into my pores like the sea it is so obsessed with. It nagged at my mind as I was reading it, and it entranced me with lyrical descriptions and then brought me crashing down like the merciless waves, storms, and tides it described. By the end of the book, I was breathless and dazzled, much like the protagonist of this adventure.

The book follows a middle-aged father trying to piece his life back together after a flood that destroys his former life. He embarks on a mad quest to sa
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
On the island of Trinidad, floods have destroyed Gavin’s home and wrought havoc on his family. Left to raise his six-year-old daughter, Océan, by himself he’s struggling with work and overwhelming loneliness. When he wakes up one morning he decides he wants to run away; take his boat, his dog and his daughter and sail out into the Caribbean and beyond.

Archipelago has made me want to hire a boat and sail round the Caribbean! Whilst the natural beauty may be a tourism advert, it is balanced by the
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After his family home in Trinidad is torn apart by a flood which leaves his family in tatters, Gavin takes his six-year old daughter Ocean and their dog Suzy on a sailing trip to try to run away from their grief. But the sea has a habit of making you address things you'd rather not have to face.

I absolutely loved this book and read it in a single sitting. Gavin, Ocean and Suzy are wonderful characters who you want to look after and protect from the terrible things that have happened to them. The
fun book about sailing west from trinidad to margarita, los roques , curacao, aruba, cartagena, san blas, the canal, galapagos
so fairly interesting and accurate sailing stuff. interesting plant animal water descriptions of stopping points/islands (neat map too), good incorporation of geopolitics and culture.
so but for the heartbreaking part, there are lots of tears, a devastating flood that ruined narrators life, wife, killed his infant son, ptsd his young daughter, even affected his damn dog.
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
"A modern day Moby Dick" says one of the blurbs on the back of the paperback edition which I found on the shelves of my local little island library. "Big hearted" from another. Yes, this is a novel dealing compassionately with big human issues like life, death, love and survival (the "journey of redemption" thing and donʻt all throw things at me at once. You know what I mean.).

A father, his young daughter and their dog run away to sea, sail from Trinidad to the Galapagos, after a flood has kill
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
A good read for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I probably won't remember much of the detail
in the book, but will remember the topic and great feeling I was left with.

I've never been on a long sea journey of any kind. Spending the time with Gavin, Océan and Suzy on this small vessel for two months was certainly an unexpected adventure. I was just as happy as they were when the voyage came to an end! I also wanted to leave all sorrows behind and celebrate the joy of living at the Trinidad festival.

It to
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Counted this one for "The Caribbean" in the 666 for 2016 - An Around the World Reading Challenge .
This is the 3rd book I have read by Monique Roffey, and I am officially a fan!
Although I didn't enjoy this as much as The White Woman on the Green Bicycle , this book took me on a journey. I loved the characters, and the storytelling was fantastic.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the 4th novel House of Ashes
Hemavathy DM Suppiah-Devi
Sometimes you have to run away to heal. And figure out whether home is still home.
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
Roffey takes us back to the Trinidad of Green Bicycle, and into the life of middle-aged, middle-income Gavin Weald and his six year old daughter Océan. Like George and Sabine Harwood, they live at the foot of 'the green woman of Trinidad', 'those green hills...curled up and close, like a colossus asleep on her side.' We meet them on a humid day in November 2010, eating macaroni cheese and ice cream with peas for dinner. They're joined at this meal by Suzy, the robust grumbling family dog, and af ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a mesmerizing voyage. After tragically losing his son, Alexander, to a flood in his pink house in Trinidad, Gavin Weald quits his job and, with his 6-year-old daughter Océan and his dog Suzy, sets sail in his old boat Romany through the archipelago of islands along the north coast of South America, through the Panama Canal and to the Galapagos. His wife Claire has gone into a sleep, withdrawn into herself, and is staying with her mother in Trinidad; she doesn't at first know that Gavin has ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
where do i begin? i think it shall start with the fact that i'm a... for a lack of better, more accurate word... sucker for the ocean. i am forever attached to it. when i am on a boat I'll just automatically smile unknowingly and i always surprise myself when i catch myself doing that. i think it's mostly the fear itself. oceans are terrifying. but there's something poetic and disturbingly beautiful about it. blue all around? that's heaven. such relief, such content. "you are a wild animal" my f ...more
Tishy Wishy
Nov 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I really tried to give this book a chance, it was nice to hear a Trini voice but the characters were not engaging at all and the speech quotation was sometimes a little tedious to follow from lack of actual quotations (not typos, it was the style of the book). Got about 20% into it and then packed it up.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this story of a man and his daughter on a journey to escape the pain of a tragedy. Their travels take them fro Trinidad to the Agalapago. The book describes all the places they visit but the more interesting journey is their emotional one
Yan Wong
Feb 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am expecting an exciting story but what i found was boring. There is some inappropriate vocabulary inside and inappropriate scenes. The cover of the book is great but the story inside? No. I am pretty dissapointed. 1 star for the cover.
Julie Round
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
I found this book utterly compelling. Not only was the story fascinating but the descriptions of the places visited and creatures seen made me ache to follow in their footsteps. How I wish I could see all the birds, fish and tortoises. Very special.
Susan Z. Miller
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel. As one who is interested in both marine biology and travel, I was very intrigued by the themes. It's also a touchingly human story filled with sadness and beauty. All-around loved it. ...more
Julie Tombs
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book although it helped I was on a Caribbean cruise at the time so sailing around the ABC Islands where some of it was based. It was an uplifting tale of a family trying to heal after a disastrous flood and death of a child. Caution there are some tear jerking sections in it.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Depressing with a capital D
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This book is absolutely lovely. I picked it up on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed it. The descriptions are gorgeous and transport the reader directly into the story.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“He’s not sure of anything. Right now, he’d like to be led. Helped. He has escaped to the only place of wisdom he knows, the sea.”
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-authors
A beautiful story
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so touching
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Mansfield Public ...: Archipelago Review by Toni Mascangioli 1 5 Jul 11, 2013 08:19AM  

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Monique Roffey is an award winning writer. Her most recent novel, The Mermaid of Black Conch (Peepal Tree Press) won the Costa Novel Award, 2020 and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths prize, 2020.

Her other novels have been shortlisted for The Orange Prize, COSTA Fiction Award, Encore and Orion Awards. In 2013, Archipelago won the OCM BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature. She is a Senior Lecturer

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