Archipelago, Hardback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


When a flood destroys Gavin Weald's home, tearing apart his family and his way of life, he doesn't know how to continue.

A year later, he returns to his rebuilt home and tries to start again, but when the new rainy season arrives, so do his daughter's nightmares about the torrents, and life there becomes unbearable.

So father and daughter - and their dog - embark upon a voyage to make peace with the waters.

Their journey will take them far from their Caribbean island home, into other unknown harbours and eventually across a massive ocean.

They will sail through archipelagos, encounter the grandeur of the sea, meet with the challenges and surprises of the natural world.

A miraculous future lies ahead of them, unknown territories await to be discovered.

But it will take more than an ocean to put the memory of the flood behind them...


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When a flood destroys his home and shatters his family, Gavin decides to run away and pursue his dream of sailing from Trinidad to the Galápagos. He, his six-year-old daughter Océan, and their old dog Suzy climb aboard the Romany and embark on a voyage in which they battle the waves…and their grief. Archipelago is a lovely novel filled with remarkably life-like characters (Océan is especially fabulous), beautiful imagery, and just the right amount of adventure. One thing that truly impressed me was the way in which the author revealed the circumstances and consequences of the disaster that precipitated the journey. She did so very slowly, in bits and pieces, with hints and clues, which I thought perfectly captured the nature of grief. You can’t look on the whole thing at once, but instead you steal glances at part of it and grapple with that, until you can move on to the next thing, and eventually you arrive at a place of healing. It is a sad and emotional novel, and there was more than one scene that nearly brought me to tears. There were only two small things that prevented me from rating this 5 Stars. The first thing was the lack of quotation marks for dialogue. This is a recent trend that has been commented on by many people about several different books. I’ve never been one of those people; in fact, I rarely even notice it. But in Archipelago I thought it was glaringly obvious and made certain passages very awkward to read. The other thing was that the ending seemed anticlimactic and not quite right in some way that I can’t quite define.All in all, though, Archipelago is a remarkable novel that I highly recommend. (And one that I’m eagerly anticipating being on the list for the 2013 Orange Prize, an award the author has been nominated for previously.)