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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me want to sail the Caribbean
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...
Published on 10 Aug 2012 by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice
Dragged a bit kept flipping pages. Worth sticking it out I suppose.

The adventures were nice it just dragged a bit too much
Published 7 months ago by Mizde


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me want to sail the Caribbean, 10 Aug 2012
By 
Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Archipelago (Hardcover)
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 darker side of the islands, unethical tourism, natural disaster and the seedier side of the locals. The sea itself is both mesmerising and dangerous. And whilst Gavin and Océan are surrounded by beauty, there is an underlying feeling of melancholy and a loss that is rarely talked about.

Océan makes a convincing six-year-old; she is perceptive and curious but not in a way that is beyond her years. She comes out with questions typical to children her age and her sadness is quiet, from someone who is not quite sure what is wrong in her world but knowing it is definitely not right. Despite some of the content, I never found it a depressing read and there are several moments that will bring a smile to your face to counteract the bad. It might be a bit too slow a read for some but if you love books about the sea, I would highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll be reading this one again!, 22 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Archipelago (Hardcover)
I knew I'd like this book, because it's got a lot of sea and a lot of weather, and I like a bit of sea and weather. But I didn't realise what a treat I was in for. This book is beautiful; one of the most beautiful books, in fact, that I have ever read. The writing is, in many places, exquisite, and characters so real they have taken up residence in my heart.

After a devastating flood sweeps through their home in Trinidad, killing his baby son, Gavin takes his six-year-old daughter, Ocean, and their elderly dog, Suzy, and sets sail in Romany, the boat he owns with a friend but hasn't sailed for years. It's a spur of the moment decision and it soon becomes clear that he hasn't quite thought it through. But Gavin cannot continue in the life that he's been left with. Is he running away? Perhaps. But it's more of a journey of discovery. He needs to find out who he is now that the flood has swept away his identity as a husband and father, provider and protector. 'His wife made him healthy, stable. Now he is half-himself, not himself.'

It was the power of nature that took so much away from him, and it is as though he now wants to face nature, to put his trust in it once more. As they sail through archipelagos and out across the vast ocean, they come up against nature's violence and treachery, which is vividly, often viscerally described:
'The boat begins to buck and nosedive into the waves...forward and then backwards; up and then down; restless unpredictable rollercoaster movements...He's forgotten how quickly the sea can change. One moment it can be flat, quiet, agreeable, then of another mood entirely, wicked and vexed. The sea can be a bitch. She can hurl you from your bunk, have you vomiting out your guts, lash you with stray halyards. She never wants to be taken for granted.'

But they also encounter moments of startling beauty and joy. They see flying fish and brightly coloured coral; they swim with dolphins, and they encounter many other wonders of nature.

I won't deny that this book has some terribly sad moments. I sobbed - I mean sobbed - more than once; but I also felt the more positive emotions, the awe, the delight, the amusement, the love. This is Monique Roffey's real skill; the observations are so acute, the imagery so perfect, that not only do we see what the characters see, hear what they hear and smell what they smell, we actually feel what they feel.

The relationship between father and daughter is beautifully drawn. Gavin is often humbled by his daughter, by her trust in him and by her perceptiveness. He observes her closely and suffers with her:
'He can see her puzzling...she is quietly working out how many different types of loss might exist. Many, my mermaid. Many.'

I loved the characters in this novel, especially the three main ones, Ocean with her little Snoopy sunglasses, Suzy, the faithful dog who eats with them, sleeps with them and swims with them, and Gavin, who is a good man, struggling to cope. This is a novel of loss and grief, but also of the power of love and life. When I'd finished it, I didn't want to start another book for a while, because I wanted to dwell on this one for just a bit longer. I'm pretty certain I'll be reading it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and beautiful, 3 Oct 2012
By 
Lynne (Saint Petersburg, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Archipelago (Kindle Edition)
I never write reviews and I wanted to about this book. I bought it by mistake--I thought it was something else. Then it pulled me in and I couldn't put it down. It's about a man in mid-life and his young daughter who have been through a devastating trauma--the details of which are only revealed slowly as the story unfolds. So they set sail on an old boat with some traumas of its own from Trinidad, through the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) and further afield, learning to live again, healing, and having adventures on the open seas. It's not all fun and games--there are some harrowing experiences along the way. Although the story is grounded in a tragedy, the narrative doesn't wallow, and by moving seamlessly between past and present it gives a very real sense of what the healing process is like. And if you're a sailor or like the ocean there are beautiful passages about life at sea.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read, 28 Jun 2014
By 
Liz Bailey (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archipelago (Kindle Edition)
There was a lot to ponder in this story. It held me throughout the strange journey with its ups and downs. A finding yourself literary novel which has much to offer. Well drawn, beautiful prose, and some shock moments that left me breathless.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago (Kindle Edition)
An emotional journey which brought a tear to the eye. The journey embarked upon is unique and leaves me quite jealous I would never be able to see the things he sees. The ending is inevitable so a slight feeling of disappointment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago (Kindle Edition)
Dragged a bit kept flipping pages. Worth sticking it out I suppose.

The adventures were nice it just dragged a bit too much
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fully absorbing, 26 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago (Paperback)
Loved it! Although, This book has a sailing theme, it is not what the book is about. From tragedy, heartbreak, courage, and self discovery. It takes you on the journey through every emotion. I bought this book, first because it was a recommendation, but after reading the sample, I was hooked so bought the kindle and paperback. One to keep and read again or give as a gift.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 5 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Archipelago (Paperback)
Well written, fascinating story, a page turner and I liked it very much. You really felt you were there. Good characters, beautiful sense of the sea and the elements.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A voyage but going nowhere, 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Archipelago (Paperback)
To be honest got this as a holiday read at the airport - and hadn't realised it was a novel not a travelogue. But no problem, would read in that mode.

For me it started a bit slow. Would it develop into a voyage of human development, would it develop into a love story, would it be a real sailor's book. Well, for me at least, none of these - it bumbles along with lots of sundry details on the locality, but little pace or depth. And the ending kind of fizzles out.
Its in the recycle box
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5.0 out of 5 stars A touching tale of thoughtful loving, 17 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Archipelago (Kindle Edition)
Includes adventure, family relationships in times of deepest hurts and joyful experiences with sad feelings well balanced with joyful ones.
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Archipelago
Archipelago by Monique Roffey (Hardcover - 5 July 2012)
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