The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel by Monique Roffey, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel

3.5 9
by Monique Roffey
     
 

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A beautifully written, unforgettable novel of a troubled marriage, set against the lush landscape and political turmoil of Trinidad

Monique Roffey's Orange Prize-shortlisted novel is a gripping portrait of postcolonialism that stands among great works by Caribbean writers like Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Levy.

When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in

Overview

A beautifully written, unforgettable novel of a troubled marriage, set against the lush landscape and political turmoil of Trinidad

Monique Roffey's Orange Prize-shortlisted novel is a gripping portrait of postcolonialism that stands among great works by Caribbean writers like Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Levy.

When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England, George is immediately seduced by the beguiling island, while Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill-at-ease. As they adapt to new circumstances, their marriage endures for better or worse, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives. But when George finds a cache of letters that Sabine has hidden from him, the discovery sets off a devastating series of consequences as other secrets begin to emerge.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A newly independent Trinidad offers a rich backdrop for Roffey's evocative exploration of life in a tropical paradise rife with conflict. Sabine and George Harwood come to Trinidad from England with vastly different expectations: for Sabine, it is a blessedly limited three-year stint undertaken purely to advance her husband's career; for George it is an open-ended opportunity to break out of his dreary British life. The author depicts divergent worlds in a country with a long colonial history: the considerable wealth, luxuriant estates, and country clubs for the wealthy foreign-born, and the dilapidated shacks with no running water for the servant class. The island itself—seductive, mysterious, unpredictable—provides a challenging environment that exacerbates the tension between George and Sabine, and acts as incubator for the political unrest that brews when the young nation's new leader, Eric Williams, cannot come through on his many promises. With its unique structure—beginning with George's perspective in 2006, then switching to Sabine's unsent letters from their early days on the island—Roffey reveals how each experienced Trinidad so differently and offers a resonant account of how both Harwoods succumb to a place that is part paradise and part hell. (May)
Library Journal
An act of savage brutality opens this novel, which tells the story of one family living in Trinidad between 1956 and 2006. Among the last colonials from Britain to arrive, George and Sabine Harwood have been living in Trinidad for 50 years. George immediately fell in love with the island, while his wife constantly suffered from the heat, humidity, and political/racial situation there. The brutal living conditions of the great majority of the population are poignantly described; at one point, the son of Sabine Harwood's maid is brutally beaten by the police for complaining about their theft of his cell phone, an act that powerfully symbolizes the violence done to the native population over many decades. Told in a well-balanced manner, the rise to prime minister and eventual downfall of Eric Williams affects Sabine; she has a love/hate relationship with this Oxford-educated black man and writes him letters that are never mailed. VERDICT Roffey (Sun Dog) succeeds wonderfully in writing an informative and deeply moving novel about her homeland. (The "white woman on the green bicycle" is in fact her mother.) She writes realistically enough to make readers feel that they have visited the island. Deservedly a finalist for the Orange Prize; Roffey is a fantastic talent who, one hopes, will keep writing for years to come.—Lisa Rohrbaugh, National Coll. Lib., Youngstown, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143119517
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/26/2011
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
533,795
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and educated in the UK. Since then she has worked as a center director for the Arvon foundation and has held the post of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Sussex, Chichester, and Greenwich universities. She is the author of the highly acclaimed novels sun dog and Archipelago, which is a finalist for the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. She has also written a memoir, With the Kisses of His Mouth. Read more about her writing at www.moniqueroffey.co.uk.

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The White Woman on the Green Bicycle 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is spectacular. I was engrossed in it and truly enjoyed every minute. I didn't feel like any word or page was wasted in writing this book; every line played a part in explaining the circumstances behind the protaganists' troubled marriage. The reasons were very complicated, and implicated an entire nation, so it wasn't the typical "our marriage is falling apart" tome. Ms. Roffey brought to light an aspect of colonial history in Trinidad that I am sure not many Americans are aware of. The main character's obsession with a Trinidadian politican plays a central role in the story, and her disgruntled attitude toward her adopted homeland ultimately ends up in violence (the very violence she despises). This would be a fantastic selection for a reader or book club who really wants to think about highly developed characters and circumstances around human behavior.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A refreshing read.
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beh88 More than 1 year ago
the dialect used made it a difficult read for me and i just couldn't get interested in the story