Reviews

Reviews 

 

UK – national press

 

 “Deploying the deep, humane wisdom that has become a hallmark of Roffey’s increasingly sure writing, the novel delivers its final, bittersweet coup with fearlessness and grace that richly satisfies,” Liz Jensen, The Guardian

 

 "Roffey is an invigorating story-teller. The tense, stifling scenes within the besieged House of Power, as the hostage-takers and their hostages carve out unexpected relationships, are beautifully done and her compassion for her characters are never in doubt.” Claire Allfree, Metro

 

 “Roffey’s knuckle-whitening novel goes to the heart of questions of political temptation and folly; it grips form beginning to end.” Ian Thompson, The Telegraph

 

“Roffey's writing is raw and visceral and she thrusts her readers headlong into the very middle of the action, her pen as powerful as the butts of the guns shoved in her hostages' backs.” Lucy Sholes, The Observer

 

“House of Ashes is a sympathetic and fresh look at what motivates young men to become radicalised. Parents and governments are indicted for leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. ….The violence is shocking, because it is realistic rather than a plot device. The terror of the hostage takers is as palpable as that of the hostages.” Danuta Kean, The Independent on Sunday

 

 

“ …..the force of House of Ashes, or from its powerful account of the closeness and connections between power and rebellion. “ John Self, The Times.

 

"House of Ashes is as funny as it is unsettling. The novel taps into Trinidad and Tobago's frustration with the lack of accountability for the uprising, and with the unfulfilled promise of independence." David Shaftel,The Financial Times 

 

 Trinidad and the Caribbean press:

 

“House of Ashes is probably best read as a meta text, a book of many tropes, some of which sit uncomfortably with others. It examines postcoloniaity, the failures of decolonisation, and the legacy of slavery ad indenturship, the caudilo or strongman/macho man charismatic leader, issues of power, violence and governance in small island states afflicted with imposed global neoliberal economics and regional drug trafficking. For Trinidadians, this ‘faction-cum-docudrama will either sink into the collective denial or be welcomed as an imaginative attempt to provide a kind of analysis of the island’s legacy of violence.”

 

Simon Lee,  Trinidad Guardian

 

“This is a well-written tale, rich in imagination and with some very insightful moments. Roffey, who won the 2013 OCM Bocas Award for Caribbean Literature, for her novel Archipelago, should expect even more kudos for another laudable piece of literary work.”

 

Raoul Pantin, Trinidad Express

 

“The examination of Sans Amen’s political climate, and its history of quelled insurgencies, is intricately constructed, then distilled through the dissatisfaction of the island’s people. Sans Amenians are a caustic, confrontational lot, though not immune to their own cowardice and fleeting moments of grace. The author paints both the principal and unnamed characters who reside here with thoughtfulness, using her considerable boon for human portraiture to render them as real people.” Shivanee Ramlochan, Trinidad Guardian

 

 “Monique Roffey's novel, House of Ashes is a story of attempted revolution and realisation, beautifully influenced by themes of family, religion and morality…. The novel is engaging and full of suspense, with new and unpredictable developments in every chapter….Roffey has created a story that is personal and absorbing, yet distant and unthinkable…it has the ability to make her readers want to question their own perspectives on government and power.”

 Rhianna Kalloo, Culturepulse 

 

 What other authors have said:

 

 "This is the kind of Caribbean fiction Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote about - a vividness of imagination which is at once so terrible, so beautiful and so compelling that it shows you exactly how things are.”  Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Forward Prize short-listed.

 

"With House of Ashes, Monique Roffey breathes new, and desperately needed life into the narrative of war and politics. Here is a novel that is deeply, and intimately imagined, with all the great themes of love, faith, violence and death at stake on nearly ever breathtaking page.” Dinaw Mengestu, author, All Our Names

  

“Monique Roffey's brave and loving novel will stage an insurrection in your heart. Not satisfied with being a well-researched story about rebels and hostages on a hot island -- though it is that, and reads perilously close to the bone for those who may have lived through parallel events not so long ago, House of Ashes pinions its characters, and reader, in one building that is the stressful centre of violence, but also a kind of enforced retreat. Here, armoured, everyday identities are unpicked. The man of action, man of power, woman of virtue, find their own innermost longings twisting out of them like smoke under the smashed blue sky and rising like prayers for a purificatory equalization amongst the inheritors of corrupters colonial patterns and for an acknowledgement of the feminine within the male, the childlike within the hardened, the fool within the soldier, the guiding spirit within the most unhoused. Monique Roffey has an astonishing talent for self-reinvention with every book. This may be her best yet. Vahni Capildeo, poet, Utter

 

"A chilling, dark tale of an uprising gone wrong within an imagined Caribbean republic. Roffey tells this terrifying story in the simplest, clearest prose. She tackles her subject fearlessly and with enormous compassion; both breaking and melting the heart simultaneously. A beautiful, startling novel." Amanda Smyth, author, A Kind of Eden

  

“House of Ashes is a gripping exploration of the complex dimensions of power, courage and consequences.  I could not put it down. “ Diana McCaulay, author, Huracan    

 

"This is an incisive, courageous and necessary novel. An honest and considered critique of the post-colonial, post-independent Caribbean, carving out an uncertain future from the ruins of troubled past. In the process Roffey tells hard truths, bringing to the surface things we are yet to deal with. Anthony Joseph, poet, Bird Head Son