“Sometimes, you recognize truth because it destroys you for a bit.”
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: 6th June, 2019
Rate: 4 stars
Ada has always been unusual. Her parents prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry. Their troubled child begins to develop separate selves and is prone to fits of anger and grief. When Ada grows up and heads to college in America, a traumatic event crystallises the selves into something more powerful. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind, these ‘alters’ – now protective, now hedonistic – take control, shifting her life in a dangerous direction.
It took a challenge, a recommendation and me being gifted a copy of Freshwater that finally pushed me to reading this book. Having seen mixed reviews of the book, and knowing that the book’s body revolves around snakes, I wasn’t keen on reading it. I have chronic ophidiophobia so me even picking this book up deserves an award. And I am glad that I did.
This is my second book by Akwaeke Emezi and I have to say, they are a fantastic writer. Their writing is quite poignant and evocative with vivid descriptions that had me both awed and scared. I was impressed. I didn’t want to put it down.
There are certain aspects of the book that lean more to fantasy and magical realism and at first that threw me off but I did get the hang of it and became immersed in the book and the story.
“She was good at other things too – crying, for example, which filled her with purpose, replenished all those little crevices of empty.”
There is a cast of characters in Freshwater. All memorable, I must add. From the humans to the spirits they are all felt on the page. I didn’t see much development though, there was no growth whatsoever and it did annoy me a bit because what is the point of going through hell and back and still remaining the same?
Freshwater tells its story through 3 different narrators which I quite liked. Each one has their own distinct personality considering they are sort of, kind of one person. I loved reading the different perspectives, it made me feel like I am reading 3 books in one.
Freshwater has an autobiographical tone to it and tells a coming of age story of Ada. I liked the writing and the book in general but the mentions of snakes made it difficult to appreciate this book fully. I do recommend it though.
Have you read Freshwater? What did you think about it?