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. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves―now protective, now hedonistic―move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction. Narrated from the perspective of the various 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.

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7.7

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Critic Reviews (7)

7.7
Weighted Avg. Adjusted by the addition of a statistical value.
Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
Lowest score:
Average score:
10.0
8.0
8.7
  1. Positive: 7 Out of 7
  1. Mixed: 0 Out of 7
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 7
Critical Consensus: Generally favorable.
2

Helsinki Book Review 23 Nov 2018

8.0
"Freshwater is a refreshing and timely novel, because the notion of multiple selves provides an interesting analogy to contemporary ideas of identity as something fluid and multifaceted." ...
2

Vox

13 Mar 2018
8.0
"Beyond all her verbal pyrotechnics, Emezi’s ability to literalize the experience of a fragmented identity is astonishing: It’s affecting without venturing into pathos, and hopeful without becoming saccharine. And she’s just getting started." ...
1

The Seattle Times

25 Feb 2018
"“Freshwater” feels more like an interpretive journey through uncharted territory with an experienced guide. Potent and moving, knowing and strange, this is a powerful and irresistibly unsettling debut." ...
1

New York Times

26 Feb 2018
9.0
"Akwaeke Emezi’s “Freshwater” is a poetic and disturbing exploration of dissociative identity disorder, of the voices “roaring inside the marble room” of a young woman’s mind." ...
1

thestar.com

23 Feb 2018
8.0
"Freshwater is an unusual story. Emezi has not only made a rich contribution to Igbo mythology, she has crafted a novel so unique and fresh, it feels as if the medium has been reinvented." ...
1

Los Angeles Times

16 Feb 2018
"Emezi’s lyrical writing, her alliterative and symmetrical prose, explores the deep questions of otherness, of a single heart and soul hovering between, the gates open, fighting for peace." ...

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SIMILAR Books

Published:

February 13, 2018

Publisher:

Grove Press

ISBN:

978-0-802-12735-8

Language:

English

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