A story fraught with grief and loss, Archipelago revolves around Trindadian Gavin Weald and his daughter Ocean, as they deal with the aftermath of a flood that decimated their house and took a life from their family.
Reviewed by Daniel Lipscombe
Simon & Schuster
When Gavin feels he can cope no more he decides to turn back to the life he knew before his family grew, and takes Ocean and their dog Suzy to sail westwards to the Galapagos Islands, where he has always dreamed of visiting. Will a trip at sea leave the misery of their life behind? Monique Roffey does a brilliant job of depicting the grief that grips a family after a death. Gavin is a man with a broken mind and Ocean is in constant fear of the rain and the possibility of death. The novel oozes with heartbreak, and it isn’t until halfway through the book that Gavin reveals his memories and the reader finally sees just how much hurt lingers within these fragile people.
Roffey’s writing flows beautifully as she describes the Caribbean and the islanders that inhabit the area. Her descriptions are transporting for the reader and the scenes play out almost cinematically. But it’s the relationship between father and daughter that is the centrepiece of the book, and we watch with a little awkwardness, and some charm, as Gavin and Ocean grow closer. Monique Roffey has penned a wonderful novel that deals with the saddest moments of a person’s life with both a raw and delicate touch.