By Akwaeke Emezi

Metaphysics, Liminality, Autofiction


Published by Faber & Faber

Longlist 2019

Freshwater is about a young woman, Ada, who is ọgbanje: peopled with spirits, trapped in her body, Ada is torn between the physical and spiritual world. As Ada grows up, the spirits that people her develop distinct and varied selves within her, and Ada must learn how to survive with them…

Ada was born with one foot on the other side. Having prayed her into existence, her parents, Saul and Saachi, struggle to deal with the volatile and contradictory spirits peopling their troubled girl.

When Ada comes of age and heads to college, the entities within her grow in power and agency. An assault leads to a crystallisation of her selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves – now protective, now hedonistic – seize control of Ada, her life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.

Narrated from the perspectives of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and being. Feeling explodes through the language of this scalding novel, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.

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