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Fiction: Literary
Unabridged   6.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 02/13/2018

Indie Next List
NPR Best of 2018
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The Women's Prize For Fiction Longlist 2019


Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684410408
Digital Download ISBN:9781684410415


An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self.

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Product Description

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. 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.


“There is just enough flux in her [Emezi] voice to show range but not derail the plot, which takes place within the main character and manifests in dismal and, at times, violent acts. —AudioFile

“The author is a dynamic performer of her work; her narration is subtle and enlightening. Her characters are wonderfully realized. Emezi’s accents give the listener a true sense of place.” —Sound Commentary Starred Review

“In her mind-blowing debut, Emezi weaves traditional Igbo myth that turns the well-worn narrative of mental illness on its head, and in doing so she has ensured a place on the literary-fiction landscape as a writer to watch . . . Emezi’s brilliance lies not just in her expert handling of the conflicting voices in Ada’s head but in delivering an entirely different perspective on just what it means to go slowly mad. Complex and dark, this novel will simultaneously challenge and reward lovers of literary fiction. A must-read.”―Booklist Starred Review

“[A] spiritually lush and tough yet lyrical debut . . . A gorgeous, unsettling look into the human psyche, richly conceived yet accessible to all.”―Library Journal, Starred Review

“[An] enthralling, metaphysical debut novel . . . Emezi’s talent is undeniable. She brilliantly depicts the conflict raging in the ‘marble room’ of Ada’s psyche, resulting in an impressive debut.”―Publishers Weekly

"With this stunning debut, Akwaeke Emezi has blessed us with nothing less than a masterpiece. Freshwater is a journey of loss and reconciliation, home and heartbreak, and ultimately a survivor's guide to harmonizing spirit and flesh. Quite simply a gorgeous, elegant, and brutal work of truthtelling. To repeat: A masterpiece."—Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of The Shadowshaper Cypher series

"Wow. The net effect is a feeling of being peeled open, and quickly finding that skinless place to be normal. More than any novel I can remember, it feels utterly present to the place we are in the world."—Binyavanga Wainaina, author of One Day I Will Write About This Place

Author Bio

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and artist based in liminal spaces. She 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.