A review by elmo_isnotmyname
Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


This was a dense ride. Through abuse, rape, self-harm, loneliness, mental illness, migration; spirituality.
The protagonist's 'fractured selves' spoke more than the protagonist themself -- though: what even is a self?, they end up wondering.

Instead of telling a lifetime of traumatic events through the eyes of the person battling against their ensuing 'madness' (as it is called here) -- we follow 'the madness' battling against the human body it is bound to. Outrageous lust and anger splitting the Ada (the protagonist) and their memories into multiple versions. Ultimatly as to protect the Ada.

So this can be read as a story about Dissociative Identitiy Disorder; weaving in tales of Igbo gods, myths, and spirituality.
There are many graphic scence of violence. The latter endeared this book to me (-- I'm sorry, as a reader I'm just craving for mirrors of myself, but I don't want to spoil this work of art by mixing in my own ego.)
I'm looking forward to reading Emezi's other work!

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