I knew I loved this book by the end of the first chapter. Dark magical realism, narrated from the otherworldly perspective of a chorus of minor gods trapped in the mind of a young woman. It's not going to be for everyone, but I thought it was phenomenal. Recommended By Hayley H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary debut novel exploring the metaphysics of identity and mental health, centering on a young Nigerian woman as she struggles to reconcile the proliferation of multiple selves within her.
Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel
A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A New York Times Notable Book
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New Yorker, BuzzFeed, Literary Hub, Amazon, NPR, the Chicago Public Library, Electric Literature, Bustle, Refinery29, Entropy, BookPage, Shelf Awareness, and the Globe and Mail
Named a Best Debut Novel of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly
Finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
Longlisted for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize
Longlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A New York Times Book Review Paperback Row Selection
An Amazon Top 10 Book Pick (February 2018)
One of the most anticipated and best reviewed novels of 2018, Freshwater is the remarkable debut of an astonishing young writer.
Ada has always been unusual. As an infant in southern Nigeria, she is a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents successfully prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry, as the young Ada becomes a troubled child, prone to violent fits of anger and grief. Born “with one foot on the other side,” she begins to develop separate selves. When Ada travels to America for college, a traumatic event crystallizes the selves into something more powerful. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these alters — now protective, now hedonistic — move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dangerous direction. Unsettling, heart-wrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.
“Ground-shaking... It is a battle for a body and a soul, and the stakes are high.” Nadja Spiegelman, Paris Review
“Ambitious and original... Befitting a story about a fractured mind, the style of the novel is unconventional. Not only does Emezi write in multiple voices, but the story also progresses in a nonlinear fashion... Brilliant.” Zyzzyva
“Remarkable and daring... Poetic and disturbing... Rooting Ada’s story in Igbo cosmology forces us to further question our paradigm for what causes mental illness and how it manifests. It causes us to question science and reason.” Tariro Mzezewa, New York Times
“An extraordinarily powerful and very different kind of physical and psychological migration story.” The New Yorker
About the Author
Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and artist based in liminal spaces. Born and raised in Nigeria, they received their MPA from New York University and was awarded a 2015 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. They won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Their work has been published in various literary magazines, including Granta. Freshwater is their debut novel.