Grove Press, 9780802127358, 240pp.
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
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 the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. 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 dark and dangerous direction. Narrated by the selves within Ada, and based in the author's realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self. Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.
About the Author
Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and artist based in liminal spaces. Born and raised in Nigeria, she received her MPA from New York University. She was awarded a 2015 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Her work has been selected and edited by Chimamanda Adichie, and published in various literary magazines, including Granta. Freshwater is her debut.