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Publisher's Summary

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, heart-wrenching, 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.

©2018 Akwaeke Emezi (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just ok.

I originally bought the hard copy but was struggling to get past the first couple of chapters as the style of writing did not grab my attention at all. So I decided to listen to the audio in the hopes that the authors voice would bring more life to the written words. After much anticipation for this book I found myself not being able to identify with the writers character/characters at all. Maybe I should have gone in with no expectations but I had read so much press promising what this book was going to bring that, that was hard. I am still not much more enlightened as to what an Obanje is than before reading this book. I also don’t understand what makes the reader more of a God than anyone else. Since this book is supposed to be an autobiographical style I respect the author putting her truth out there. It is also important for stories like this to be heard in the African community, as we don’t address issues like multiple personality enough.
It’s hard to explain but I guess I was just hoping this book would be more in terms of helping us understand African spirituality. Instead I just left more confused. Overall I just felt the book lacked maturity. There was too much of an attachment to the physical body and human sexual behavior by all the characters inhabiting the body for me to be able to see the non human side of one split personality person.

Maybe the writer will write an update once she has gone further on the path of her/their own spiritual journey.

71 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book; Good Narrator

Really enjoyed the story. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the narration. Sometimes the very flat, calm, matter-of-fact style was the perfect dictation to a confusing, otherworldly story, sometimes I felt it detracted from the narrative power of the words by not adding a more powerful aural component. Overall, very very good.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Different personalities = Different Characters

What caught my eye is that this book is told by Adas personalities. Ada goes through a life of getting to know why she's different with her different personalities she grows to love them and embrace them all the while fighting and never belonging or fitting in. Mental health is real and is much more than individuals.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful new voice

This book is written in exceptional prose, and I found it easy to lose myself in the flow of the author's words. It's the joining of the otherworldly and interior turmoil. It's absolutely perfect.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fresh is the water and the words

Akwaeke offers fresh story framing, fresh prose, fresh concepts of duality. I swallowed this book. I needed this book. This book made me see parts of my hidden self. I can hardly write a review because I’m still digesting this book and reflecting on the inner turmoil, inner conversations that we experience without ever fully understanding the language. Beautifully written.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ivie
  • UNION, NEW JERSEY, US
  • 04-17-18

Overall !

I loved the authors convey of the story and her tone and I actually felt her pain and emotions while dealing with them inside of her. I would love to meet her in person!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Difficult Listen for Me

This book was dark and from the start it was difficult for me to follow along the voice of the main character(s), it became easier as I moved through the book, but all in all the book was too dark for me and at the end I didn’t feel like there was real closure- maybe that was the point...I also think a different narrator may have been helpful, the author doesn’t emote much during the performance and in my opinion that made it difficult at times to connect with the story. I won’t say it’s a bad book, just maybe not my style...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

not my style !!

very confused as to what this book is about , seems like no real story line

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary

Particularly wonderful to listen to the author herself - hypnotic prose from an extraordinary writer.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it!!

not a review writer but this one was magical. the story, the author's accent, at times it was just like listening yo a moving piece of music!!