We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

A Novel

by Monique Roffey

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey X
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 448 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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

Paperback Original

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.

CHAPTER ONE
The Blimp

Every afternoon, around four, the iguana fell out of the coconut tree. Bdup! While sunbathing, it had fallen asleep, relaxing its grip, dropping from a considerable height. It always landed like a cat, on all fours, ready to fight. The dogs always went berserk, gnashing and chasing after the creature as it fled, scuttling across the grass, a streak of lime green disappearing off into the undergrowth.

'It never remembers the day before,' Sabine remarked. 'Never remembers its dreams, either, I suppose. Brain like a peanut. '

The lizard's daily plummet acted like an alarm clock, prompting Sabine to make their afternoon pot of tea. She went to put the kettle on.

'Jennifer, tell your son Talbot to come and kill that damn lizard.'

But Jennifer only rolled her eyes. She'd dominated the kitchen all day, baking gooey cakes and sweet-breads, stewing chicken with brown sugar. She'd been making pellau for the weekend. On the kitchen table, two halves of ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. Have you been to Trinidad? If so, how well do you think Monique Roffey captures the country, its politics, and its internal race relations? If you've never visited the region, how has reading this book changed or confirmed your conceptions of Trinidad?

  2. Is it wise for Talbot to accept George's help? Does he have a choice?

  3. In one of her many letters to Eric Williams, Sabine writes, "George has gone mad. He sleeps with other women, flaunts his charms. All this has gone to his head… Too much rum. Too many beautiful women on this goddamn island" (p. 48). Do you—like Sabine—believe that George would have been more faithful to her if they'd remained in England?

  4. Can you empathize with Sabine's fascination with Eric ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Seamlessly integrating political issues involving race, colonialism, and the legacy of slavery with the more personal conflicts that Sabine and George experience in their marriage, Roffey crafts a novel whose epic scope - the action spans 50 years and is broken down into temporal sections: 2006, 1956, 1963, and 1970 - belies its intimate perspective...continued

Full Review (754 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Marnie Colton).

Media Reviews

Elle Magazine
Heart-rending and thought-provoking, you will never again see the Caribbean as just another holiday destination.

London Evening Standard (UK)
A searing account of the bitter disappointment suffered by Trinidadians on securing their independence from British colonial rule and of the mixed feelings felt by a white couple who decide to stay on. An earthy, full-blooded piece of writing, steaming with West Indian heat.

The Independent (UK)
[A] brilliant, brutal study of a marriage overcast by too much mutual compromise.

The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Equal love and attention go into the marriage and the country at the heart of this Orange Prize short-listed novel... It's a book packed with meaty themes, from racism to corruption to passion and loyalty.

The Times (UK)
Roffey's evocation of Trinidad is extraordinarily vivid, the central relationship beautifully observed... deservedly short-listed for the Orange Prize.

Financial Times (UK)
[Roffey's] plot engages the reader through a gradual revelation of the past - slowly forming a melancholy whole.

The Guardian (UK)
A rich and highly engaging novel.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Calypso

In 1956, Americans were getting their first taste of Trinidad's unique contribution to music in the form of Harry Belafonte's infectious crossover hit, "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)." A brief fervor for all things calypso followed, resulting in such nutty fare as tough guy actor Robert Mitchum's album, Calypso - Is Like So... (1957), and kitschy B movie Bop Girl Goes Calypso (1957). Although Belafonte may have been known as the King of Calypso in the United States (a claim to fame never made for Mitchum), Trinidadians revered serious performers like Lord Kitchener, Sir Lancelot, and the Mighty Sparrow, and for them, calypso symbolized much more than barbecue background music.


The roots of calypso are believed to date back to the ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, try these:

We have 8 read-alikes for The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Monique Roffey
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Wild and Distant Seas
    Wild and Distant Seas
    by Tara Karr Roberts
    Tara Karr Roberts is a newspaper columnist who also teaches English and journalism. Wild and Distant...
  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...
  • Book Jacket: Prophet Song
    Prophet Song
    by Paul Lynch
    Paul Lynch's 2023 Booker Prize–winning Prophet Song is a speedboat of a novel that hurtles...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.