The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Monique Roffey

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Format: Paperback | 439 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 20mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 26 April 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0143119516
  • ISBN 13: 9780143119517
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 214,933

Product description

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.

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Author information

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.

Customer reviews

By markon 20 Apr 2012 4

The white woman on the green bicycle by Monique Roffey was an intriguing read set in Trinidad. Wish my head wasn't so stufffed up so I could think more clearly about the structure and voice of this novel.

Sabine is the white woman on the green bicycle, and it's her voice that comes through most clearly. She and her husband George come to Trinidad in 1957 from England (George is British, Sabine is French).

The novel covers the handover of Trinidad from a British protectorate to an independent state, and also covers the life of George's & Sabine's marriage. George & Sabine come to Trinidad for a temporary 3-year posting that turns into a much longer stay. George is happy in Trinidad, Sabine is not.

However, the first third of the book takes place in 2006, and begins with the thorough and intentional beating of the adult child of one of George's & Sabine's employees by the police, and George's & Sabine's inability to do anything constructive about the incident, let alone the police and governmental corruption endemic in Trinidad.

Part love story (George & Sabine, George and Trinidad, Sabine & PM), some insight into power and politics. This is a story of the immigration of white Europeans into a majority black Caribbean nation.

Review quote

"Engaging. . . . A firebomb of a book, revealing a slowly disintegrating marriage, a country betrayed and a searing racism that erupts in terrible violence. . . . This is a stunning book, and its depiction of an aspect of Caribbean life is well worth contemplating." -"The Cleveland Plain Dealer" "Roffey's explorations of longtime marriages, race, and the lingering effects of colonialism are insightful and often painful to read. . . . The true main character in this novel is Trinidad itself: its people, its customs, and its contradictions." -Nancy Pearl, "National Public Radio" "Few novels capture the postcolonial culture with such searing honesty as this Caribbean story told through the alternating viewpoints of a white British couple over the last 50 years. . . . The pitch-perfect voices capture the colonials' racism and sense of entitlement." -"Booklist" "A rich and highly engaging novel." -"The Guardian" "Roffey's evocation ofo