Reviews

Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

tmnii's review

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional medium-paced

3.5

madtnation's review

Go to review page

dark emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

heliois's review

Go to review page

Freshwater is a novel which I do not have much to say of, or mayhaps I'm not sure what or how to speak of it. It is undoubtedly an absolutely innovative novel, unlike any other I've read thus far, gorgeous in its writing style, and an engrossing exploration into identity in the form of what is essentially a coming-of-age novel.

There were so many stunning phrases and expressions throughout the novel that it's difficult to select only one, whether that be Ada's descriptions as a 'heaving' or 'violent' sun or the various thoughts on gods and religion. The latter ― that peek into that world of gods and faith and one's connection to both that Freshwater provided ― was especially fascinating for me as I have rather little experience and connection to religion.

But these are gods, after all, and they don't care about what happens to flesh, mostly because it is so slow and boring, unfamiliar and coarse.
or
And while [Yshwa] loves humans (he was born of one, lived and died as one), what they forget is that he loves them as a god does, which is to say, with a taste for suffering.


Now, flipping through the novel, I additionally understand the last sentence of Freshwater.
Spoiler
All water is connected. All freshwater comes out of the mouth of a python.
which is from the first couple pages of the novel VS the very last sentence in the book,
All freshwater comes out of my mouth.


To finish it off, do I recommend Freshwater? Yes, but for others who are not as avid literature enthusiasts as I am, the novel could be a bit tepid as it focuses largely on the inner world of the main character.

samanthapearl's review

Go to review page

5.0

Ada was born with "one foot on the other side". This causes her to create separate selves; she calls these selves Asụghara and Saint Vincent. When Ada goes to America for college she is assaulted. This causes one of her selves to become the main one to lead her life. Ada is basically just existing in her own mind. Ada's life becomes darker and darker until she is only a frame of herself and must decide if she wants her life back or if she wants to give in to her other "selves" and let the darkness have her.

Akwaeke Emezi's debut novel Freshwater is unlike anything I've ever read before. The story is so dark and the writing is so beautiful. Told from perspective of Ada and her "selves" this enchanting tale takes us into a dreamlike world where reality feels as though it is blurred into a dream. Reading this book is like being transported into some other world. I went into this blind with zero expectations and now even after reading the synopsis I don't think it would have prepared me for the story inside.

It's not easy to persuade a human to end their life- they're very attached to it, even when it makes them miserable, and Ada was no different.

Frshwater is definitely not for everyone. However, I absolutely recommend at least giving it a try. It's brilliant, creative and worth every minute it takes to read it.

You can find this and all my other reviews at https://fourmoonreviews.blogspot.com/

charbck's review

Go to review page

challenging dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.25

i have problems with this book. the we narration was the most boring which sucked because it was most of the book. imo, and this may be personal, but i think if i was the editor i would restructure the book so it was told from adas pov mostly, bc her chapters were outstandingly better than the others, and then sprinkle in chapters from asughara and we and maybe vincent too. also, for a book meant to be more about ada’s struggles with herself, there was way too much attention on her dealing with the shitty guys she was dating instead of her laundry list of traumatic experiences. each traumatic experience is just, mentioned? and then never mentioned again? or in passing briefly??? i really think this book would benefit from at least another 100 pages and some serious reworking. obviously this author can write well and this concept is really great but it could be so much better

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

justinabasuthakur's review

Go to review page

3.5

it took me about 50 pages to really get into this. it was honestly confusing at first (i didn’t read any synopsis or review about the novel) but once i looked up some of the Igbo and realized how the subjects are based in religion, everything became very literal.

the writing isn’t quite as “lyrical & light yet packs a punch” as some of Emezi’s other work, but damn!! i cannot believe this was their debut novel!!

it’s a very different novel than anything i’ve ever read and for that reason, i’ll be thinking about it constantly for the next couple of days. a story that deals with identity, spirituality, trauma, and relationships. not an easy or quick read, but definitely worth it

(3.5/5)

hache_cr's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3,5.

petalstorms's review

Go to review page

emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

belbonnie's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

This book had such a heavy sweetness to it that, if it could, it would drip. The most atmospheric book I've read this year without question. Really beautiful meditation on religion and gender and trauma.

I had a professor recently who always talked about "drip-feeding information" throughout a fiction piece, and I think this book did that incredibly well, in a swell gentle way. It's a book that already makes sense before you read the end and more sense after you read the end, and it's also a book that has you constantly recontextualizing what you've already read. I was so happy that it ended the way it did for Ada.

It's a book that forces you to read it slowly, and I'm glad it does. More time to drink it in that way.

koob's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

Just shy of a solid 5 stars. Mind exquisitely blown.

I tried explaining this in a way that mirrored the beautiful complexities of queerness and I jumbled my way to the word awesome being most fitting when taking into account the entire expansive universe.

The meeting of physical and spiritual. Nothing I've encountered before and incredibly gorgeous writing. One of the first Igbo words I learn colliding with someone I meet of the same name is the universe showing off.

'The Obi may kneel down, but it never crumbles.'

Oof, Emezi.