Author of The Mermaid of Black Conch, Rathbone Folio Prize 2021 longlisted, Winner of the Costa Best Novel Award 2020 & Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2020
Gavin Weald lives with his six-year old daughter Océan and their dog Suzy in a newly rebuilt pink house. It is only a few months since a devastating flood swept through their home, with heartbreaking consequences.
Gavin is trying desperately to carry on, but wakes each night to his daughter's cries and his own fears for the future. So one day he does the only thing he can think of: he takes his daughter and his dog down to the marina, to his old boat Romany which hasn't set sail in years, and embarks upon a voyage to make his peace with the waters. They set sail into deep open ocean, watch fish and dolphins leap from the waves, and head for the Caribbean archipelago that Gavin longed to explore as a younger man, before he fell in love with a woman and moored his boat for what he thought was the last time.
Now Gavin has a new reason for wanderlust and an unexpected crew, who are about to discover the full power and majesty of the sea. A miraculous journey awaits, new sights and wonders - but it will take more than an ocean to put the memory of the flood behind them…
Praise for Archipelago:
'There's a warmth to this book, an exuberance and a wisdom, that makes the experience of reading it feel not just pleasurable but somehow instructive. It's funny, sometimes bitingly poignant. A brilliant piece of storytelling' Andrew Miller, author of Pure, winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2011
Roffey's stirring novel is one to place on the shelf next to Moby Dick and other notable seafaring stories. A flood in Trinidad destroys Gavin Weald's house and drowns his baby boy. Desperate to shed his grief, he sails with his six-year-old daughter Ocean and their dog Suzy to the Galapagos, heedless of the danger. Roffey wastes no opportunity to infuse her story with metaphors and lessons that point Gavin toward redemption. He has owned the sturdy Romany for years, since finding it afloat without its skipper, who may or may not haunt her decks. Ocean is a deep old soul, whose posttraumatic-stress tantrums help her discover a philosophy that she can use to guide her dad to a kind of salvation from sadness. There is many a reference to Ahab and Starbuck, and events and encounters, from an albino whale to a woman's tattoo ("further" it reads), are fraught with meaning. That this story has been told many times only speaks to its enduring resonance. Roffey (The White Woman on the Green Bicycle) is a masterful writer whose words are subsumed in the pictures they paint and the tales they spin.