Book review of “Freshwater”


Written by Akwaeke Emezi (2018).

Reviewed and recommended by Uche Ofuasia, 2019



“I have lived many lives inside this body. I lived many lives before they put me in this body. I will live many lives when they take me out of it.” “...creatures of God with powers over mortals...They are not subject to the laws of justice and have no moral scruples, causing harm with no justification.” “You will always be in the process of change because every time you get born into a basilisk, that basilisk consumes itself so you can be born into another basilisk.” These are just a some words from the book, the author introduces each chapter with a phrase, a passage, or a quote from another person. I thought that I would share some non-spoiler extracts from the book first, before I explain why I am recommending it. Freshwater tells an experience of existing, fragmented, between spaces and thresholds. Its twenty-two chapters question the flesh’s hold on human life. The commentary on earthly attachments is narrated by multiple first-persons in a style that borders on lyrical. The making and breaking of worlds lived from different angles within this story resonated with me. I suppose I should also note that this title drips with trauma, mature content, and strong language too. Another heads up would be that although it is written in English, there is some Igbo (Nigerian) language folded in as well. So it may be even more enjoyable with an open mind, and a suitable dictionary at the reader’s side


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