Freshwater

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

I was surprised to read this novel from beginning to end. I think this is just a simple story, Ada was an ordinary baby born in Southern Nigeria and moved to America for college. But it was not as simple as I thought. Everyone thinks if Ada might be a curse but her parents managed to turn her story into a very good life.

I met Ada story that lived in different voices and characters. Since then I’m sure that this debut is indeed amazing. This is not an ordinary story with ordinary characters. Every narrative made for Ada drew my mind to continue exploring the story to the end. Then over and over again and uncover information I had not previously thought about. Each sentence is thoroughly...

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So this book... hm. I'm still not really sure how to explain it. It's a bit magical realism, a bit mythological, a bit of an "issues" contemporary on gender, rape, sexual assault, suicide attempts, mental illness and just so much. (There are obviously trigger warnings for these topics.)

We follow one girl named Ada who was born full of gods? the children of gods? it's hard to tell. But they remember what they are, so they cause a lot of problems for her. As she grows up, some of them become more distinct based on her experiences. Each chapter is marked by who is speaking, which definitely helps although I felt like the voices of the characters were distinct.

This...

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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 emotion in me.

This seems to be an allegorical narrative about mental illness, sexual identity and other ways in which a person might feel "other." The story is narrated by various selves contained within Ada, who apparently suffers...

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"She was a question wrapped up in a breath. How do you survive when they place a god inside your body."

Freshwater is a novel unlike anything I have ever read which is something that rarely happens in my reading life. It took me a long time to really sink into this story due to the fact that there is a lot of dense perspective to get through but I am incredibly glad that I stuck with it because the complexities blended beautifully into a unique perspective of a woman (Ada) with dissociative identity disorder which is narrated by the different personalities themselves.

The slightly disjointed feel to the story would traditionally be a pain point in my reading process but, in...

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Freshwater is quite a book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, but it is unlike any other book I have ever read.
The story is told mostly from the point of view of the gods in Ada’s head, the ones that she was born with but the gate did not close behind them, leaving Ada with a foot in both worlds. It was fascinating reading Ada’s story from this perspective and this really is an extraordinary way to consider mental illness and how people protect themselves mentally from traumas in their lives. It made Ada an even more powerful character.
The writing in Freshwater is beautiful and lovely to read, sometimes harsh, sometimes poetic. Emezi has a way of painting a picture with...

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This novel is full of gorgeous prose and has a profound message of healing. Freshwater is a beautiful read.

Thank you to Akwaeke Emezi.
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Magical realism is a tough genre for me because sometimes my right brain refuses to play along. With Freshwater, it struggled at times because Ada, the person, is not the narrator. Her other "beings/hosts" narrate, which creates an emotional distance and there were times I struggled to relate to the difficulties and traumas Ada faced. On the flip side, I would have likely been an absolute mess if I had to endure everything Ada did. Still, I recommend this book, due to its beautiful writing and some exquisite passages. I may not have felt as connected to Ada as I would have liked, but Emezi is still a powerful writer and I look forward to seeing what she does next.
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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 fate of having spirits reside inside of her. For a time, Ada tries to present a unified front wherein she and the spirits within her are one. However, with abuse and trauma, she becomes more fractured and these spirits within her exert their...

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This review will appear on my blog (link below) and Goodreads on Thursday 15 March.

In brief ★★★★½

Vividly written and imaginatively conceived, Freshwater is a powerful tale about what women endure and how our minds cope with trauma. Told from a series of voices inside the 'marble room' of Ada's mind, the strong personalities vie for primacy as they both guide her towards and shield her from abuse, violence and self-harm (trigger warnings). The writing was the standout feature, full of rich voices that twist and tangle words into clever, unique strands. An extraordinary debut - one I hope will pick up awards as it makes its way into the world.

I received an advanced e-book...

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An incredibly relatable and wonderful read about the journey to finding one's self. Highly recommend!
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A stunning debut in which the author confronts mental illness through the lens of Nigerian ontology. A young woman wrestles with her multiples selves, often ceding power to the gods within.
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Stunning! I have never read anything like this book before and it is difficult to even compare it to another author's work. Raised in Nigeria, Ada finds herself part of a number of personalities housed in her body. This only touches on what this book is, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a unique, satisfying read.
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Freshwater is an exciting debut novel that's nothing like anything I've read before. The end came far too soon.
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An intense look at trauma, Freshwater utilizes Nigerian mythology to illustrate one way of surviving sexual violence. The Ada's self has fractured into two personalities -- Asughara and Saint Vincent -- and these personalities protect the Ada from the world. I found the mythology fascinating, it's a unique way of combining myth with realism, and it's very well written. It was a little too intense at times for me, and I would've enjoyed more character development from secondary characters, but it's not that kind of novel, and I understand that. I would love to read more about the mythology in the novel.

Thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me with a...

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Read my review on my blog: http://readrunwrite.com/2018-week-eight/
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This is the first novel by this exciting new author and it is dedicated ‘To those of us with one foot on the other side’.

The other side in question is the spirit world from where several ‘beings/gods’, the offspring of Ala, a python goddess, have been implanted into the womb of Saachi, an Indian woman, who conceives a girl. Already having a boy child, her husband prayed to the gods for a girl and so has put the child into the hands of these skittish creatures. When spiritual beings are made flesh the gates between the two worlds should be closed, preventing any return. In this case, however, when baby Ada is born into the world the gates remain open whether by accident or design is not...

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A few chapters into this book, I knew I was reading something important and beautiful, but I wasn't sure who I'd recommend it to. Now, having finished, I'd recommend it to anyone who appreciates unique voices and had an interest in finding self acceptance through heritage.
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Emezi's debut plunges the depths of the complexity of self and is reminiscent of a Toni-Morrison-esque flair of magical realism, but modernized. Even so, I found Ada inaccessible. I understand that, in one sense, Ada's meant to be more accessible to the reader even than to herself because of our omniscience to the intents of her multiple selves. Though the selves were these imagined abstractions with a life and mind of its own, intertwined in existence with Ada's, I didn't understand the extent to their anthropomorphism. Asughara seemed to experience human emotion and have physical desires, even at times partaking in human pleasure, but never have to deal with human...

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Freshwater is probably the most creative story you will read all year. Bursting with more imagination than a three-year-old, slippery as the python gracing its cover and as deep as the words of the title fresh water evoke, Nigerian-born author Akwaeke Emezi has created a character-driven story that will either confuse the reader or elucidate their way for deeper understanding of themselves and the universe. I suppose it depends on just how enlightened you are. I’ll let you decide what enlightened means to you.

Emezi takes the reader to that amorphous in between where mental illness and magical thinking bracket the main character, Ada, an attractive, intelligent and sensitive young woman...

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Read the review on Biblichor: 

https://biblichor.com/2018/02/21/freshwater-by-akwaeke-emezi/
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