Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Freshwater

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.Ada begins her life in ...


Details Freshwater

TitleFreshwater
ISBN9780802127358
Author
Release DateFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherGrove Press
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Cultural, Africa, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Literary Fiction, Health, Mental Health, Western Africa, Nigeria
Rating

Reviews Freshwater

  • Elyse Walters
    2017-12-27
    When I got the depths of this novel, here during these dark hours, I was blown away! My eyes were misty at the end.It’s absolutely the most brilliant creative book written of its kind ....It became personal to me....looking back at my own journey- my own struggles - my own fight - my own growth - my own inner peace.At one point I kept thinking,“No wonder it’s soooo hard for people to get well”. “No wonder people repeat the same repetiti...
  • Felice Laverne
    2018-02-10
    It’s not easy to persuade a human to end their life – they’re very attached to it, even when it makes them miserable, and Ada was no different. But it’s not the decision to cross back that’s difficult; it’s the crossing itself.Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater is a novel of layers that do not always nicely overlap; in fact, the pieces often seem to not fit together at all. It is a novel born from trauma and emotional paroxysms, a read that...
  • Michael
    2019-03-24
    My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Forceful and harrowing, Freshwater follows Ada, a young Nigerian girl, as she comes of age while contending with multiple personalities and prolonged trauma. The nonlinear storyline tracks Ada as she endures a dysfunctional upbringing in Nigeria only to come into close contact with a series of violent men in America as a precocious college student; it's told from the...
  • Hannah
    2017-06-27
    This was absolutely stunning. From the very first page I knew I was in for something extraordinary and unlike anything I have ever read. This debut combines many things I adore in books: unconventional framing and unreliable narrators, a story that gets recontextualized constantly and kept me on my toes, a basis in mythology that informed but did not over-shadow the actual story, perfect sentence structure that packs an unbelievable punch, and so...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    2017-07-21
    5 DEBUT! “DedicationTo those of uswith one footon the other side." “By the time she (our body) struggled out into the world, slick and louder than a village of storms, the gates were left open. We should have been anchored in her by then, asleep inside her membranes and synched with her mind. That would have been the safest way. But since the gates were open, not closed against remembrance, we became confused. We were at once old and newborn...
  • karen
    2019-08-22
    fulfilling my 2019 goal to read (at least) one book each month that i bought in hardcover and put off reading long enough that it is now in paperback.this is a fucking terrific book.now that that’s out of the way: a brief digression with two lessons at its core. one for authors about how they should never let a ‘bad’ review discourage them, and one for readers about how sometimes the wrong book can lead you to the right one. i recently read...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    2018-02-16
    4 fresh, imaginative stars to Freshwater! The most creative book I’ve read this year! I have read nothing like Freshwater before. It is hard to categorize. It is literary fiction, but what else? Magical realism? Mysticism? The author noted at the end that this was her spiritual book, so I will go with spiritual literary fiction. I went with the literal flow while I was reading. Freshwater could be murky, even incoherent, at times. Ada was b...
  • Rachel
    2017-12-15
    It's hard to talk about something that has no precedent. Freshwater is utterly unique, and the result is breathtaking. It's a dark, sensual, and thoughtful novel about a young woman coming to terms with and accepting the multiple identities that define her.The details of Ada's life - raised in Nigeria, relocated to the U.S. for college - are only an elemental framework for what is ultimately an introspective story. The majority of this book is na...
  • Dianne
    2018-04-20
    How to review this, how to review this............The first 50 pages or so of this book were really tough for me. I felt like I was physically fighting the book, trying to wrestle it into submission. After the initial struggle, I fell into a somewhat uneasy rhythm with the story but I never quite managed to embrace it. I can appreciate it somewhat remotely as a very original and inspired work of art, but it stirs very little depth of feeling or e...
  • Marchpane
    2017-11-17
    A unique examination of painful adolescenceFreshwater is bewitching, bewildering and arresting in equal measure. The novel combines an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative style with the central conceit of the multiple narrators being spirits or deities that inhabit the protagonist's mind, forming a sort of plural identity. The result is an interesting perspective on a fractured sense of self. It is the reader's experience of this perspective...
  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    2018-02-21
    Freshwater is a stunning novel, one that I dove into and couldn't surface out of for a while. It's like a pool of dark water that you don't really even want to get out of. And I was sad when the book finished - despite it being quite a violent and shaking experience. I am not lying when I say I intend to read it again.This review is quite long, so I suggest reading it on my blog. This Story Is What You Make Of It The most incredible aspect of Fr...
  • Jenna
    2019-06-04
    "“The first madness was that we were born, that they stuffed a god into a bag of skin.” 25 pages into this book, I was ready to DNF it. I told myself I'd stick with it until page 50 though I dreaded trudging my way through 25 more pages. Well!! By page 50 I was utterly entranced. Holy crap was this a good book! It is the story of Ada, a young Nigerian woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (though the book never diagnoses her). The story ...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    2018-03-20
    I did an unusual thing before writing this review, I looked at what other people have said about the book. Usually I like coming to a book without any advance knowledge and reviewing it without any awareness of its reception, but this time I was curious. It is a hard book to pin down, I was still trying to figure out which words I could use to describe it. It turns out that seeing the reviews helped. I saw many people calling this book "magical r...
  • Maddie
    2019-03-05
    LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION (2019)Everything about Freshwater is entracing: the beautiful, strong and evocative writing, the visceral voice of the characters and the deep sense of “strangeness” (not in a odd way, but in a way that there is not many books like it) make the reading of it an experience that cannot be compared nor categorized fully. It sits somewhere between the realm of reality and the realm of the fantastic, I ...
  • Hugh
    2019-03-14
    Update 29/4/19 - I am disappointed that this missed the shortlist for the Women's Prize, and suspect the reason may have had more to do with doubt over the eligibility of the author than the quality of the book.I have been a little reluctant to read this one, but its inclusion on the Women's Prize longlist gave it the push I needed, and I found it very impressive. Part of my reluctance is down to having read Ben Okri's The Famished Road last year...
  • Meike
    2018-08-30
    Nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019"Freshwater" cleverly discusses the human mind by inquiring what actually constitutes "mental illness": To what degree is our inner fragmentation - the multitude of feelings and urges, the freedom to be many things - part of the human condition, and when does it become harmful and destructive? Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi employs African myths and Igbo spirituality in order to tell the story of Ada...
  • Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
    2018-02-27
    Akwaeke Emezi’s debut is one of the most compelling—dare I say, bewitching—literary novels of recent years, largely a function of its incantatory prose and idiosyncratic narrative style. Its hero, Ada, is no mere mortal sufferer of multiple personalities but rather an Igbo deity struggling with incarnation. Who knew the novel form was porous enough—could be stretched enough—for such a story to roar through its gates?My BookTube review: ...
  • Trudie
    2019-04-18
    I have been procrastinating upon writing this review for a few reasons. The main one being that I can't shake the feeling that not liking this says something about my inability to see things from the authors point of view, thus a failure for me as a reader. It is always a problem for me with books that have one leg based in autobiography and another in some spiritual realm. I am forever needing to know what really happened. Perhaps most detriment...
  • Darkowaa
    2017-12-09
    !!! https://africanbookaddict.com/2018/02...If I had known this book was as evil, dark and sinful as it was, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to read it. But now that I’ve marinated the story in my mind for a while, I can confidently declare that Freshwater is so much more than it’s insane level of lust and blasphemy. Freshwater is a dark, layered tale based in and out of the spiritual realm, which focuses on how past traumas deeply affect...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2018-03-15
    I was pulled in to this story (narrated by the author) of Ada, who is a gift from the (plural) Igbo serpent god to her parents for praying the right way. But because they were the child, the god(s) own her, and are always with her. There is a disturbing description of it at the beginning where they go inside the lining of her uterus, among other places. During a traumatic event, they take hold of Ada's body and then have the ability to completely...
  • Michelle
    2018-02-12
    Freshwater is the semi-autobiographical account of a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder after a traumatic event. Steeped in Igbo tradition the main character Ada lives a life straddling two worlds. As the daughter of the serpent goddess Ala, she is born with “one foot on the other side” occupying the liminal spaces between the spirit realm and the flesh. What is the cause of her fractured self? Is she possessed or is she...
  • Claire
    2019-04-08
    Freshwater is unlike anything I've ever read before. Because it lacks precedence (in my reading at least) it's really difficult to review. Needless to say, Emezi is an outstanding new talent. This novel, is exceptional, both in terms of the scope and ambition of the ideas it explores, and the originality of its expression. Freshwater is a dark narrative, one that is awash with intense feelings, passionate deeds, connection, and isolation. I can s...
  • Ifeyinwa
    2018-07-08
    Still cementing my thoughts on this, but the long story short is: I didn't like this novel- the writing and execution. There was a lot more telling than showing with minimal buildup and character development.--------------------------My interest in this novel is rooted in being a follower of Akwaeke's social media platforms. So, I was beside myself with excitement when she announced its publication a while back. Earlier this year, I attempted to ...
  • Tudor Vlad
    2017-07-25
    I think that the best praise a book can get is having the reader think to himself “this is something that I have never read”, and this is what made Freshwater for me such an outstanding experience, the fact that I had no prior book that I could compare it to, it was completely new territory. It is also what makes it so damn hard to review, there are all these feelings mixed up in my mind and making sense of them is just as hard as it was for ...
  • Marie
    2018-03-14
    This is a startlingly raw and dark novel about spirituality, abuse, trauma and mental illness. In this fresh perspective, debut novelist Akwaeke Emezi embeds ogbanje, or nonhuman entities, within Ada, a girl born to parents who had prayed to the God Ala for a daughter. Ala, a serpentine God, the judge and mother who holds the underworld in her belly grants the parents their wish. Thus, Ada (name meaning the egg of a python) is born to suffer the ...
  • Shannon
    2018-02-03
    Having been a follower of Akwaeke Emezi on Instagram for some time, I was thrilled to see she'd written a novel. I expected it to be a reflection of the beautiful images and energy she floods us with on her Instagram feed. My oh my - I had no idea this book would be the exact opposite. The book's blurb does do a bit of foreshadowing by including phrases like: 'troubled baby,' 'source of deep concern to her parents,' 'volatile and splintered child...
  • Vanessa
    2018-09-04
    This was an intense read on so many levels. It’s strange but in a way that makes (mostly) perfect sense. The many facets of a person. The inner characters that live inside all of us. It is written in a completely unique and transformative way both contemporary and traditional. A real psychological analysis of a fractured individual being and the broken mind. How trauma can really fracture and consume a person. The inner dialogue that taunts and...
  • Lee
    2019-04-12
    Unique, provocative, savage and supremely accomplished (especially for a debut). Contiguously a terse and pointedly flat narrative, clipped and angry and biliously cathartic, with lyrical, feverish, transcendental passages, in keeping with the central body/soul dichotomy. Very clever and compulsive and visceral.“The Ada had liked being seen as a boy. She felt like it fit, or at least the misfit of it fit, the wrongness was right. She was perhap...
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2019-11-18
    why does every book I read for this class slap so hardreview to come!
  • PorshaJo
    2018-01-27
    Review to come.....need to gather my thoughts about this one.