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, heartwrenching, 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.

Narrated by the various selves within Ada and based in the author's realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.


    Freshwater Reviews

  • Elyse Walters

    When I got the depths of this novel, here during these dark hours, I was blown away! My eyes were misty at the end.It’s absolutely the most brilliant creative book written of its kind ....It became ...

  • Navidad Thlamour

    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. But it’s not the decision to cross back that’s...

  • Michael

    My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Forceful and harrowing, Freshwater follows Ada, a young Nigerian girl, as she comes of age while contending with multip...

  • Hannah

    This was absolutely stunning. From the very first page I knew I was in for something extraordinary and unlike anything I have ever read. This debut combines many things I adore in books: unconventiona...

  • PattyMacDotComma

    5★ DEBUT! “DedicationTo those of uswith one footon the other side." “By the time she (our body) struggled out into the world, slick and louder than a village of storms, the gates were left open...

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 fresh, imaginative stars to Freshwater! The most creative book I’ve read this year! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 I have read nothing like Freshwater before. It is hard to categorize. It is literary fiction...

  • Rachel

    It's hard to talk about something that has no precedent. Freshwater is utterly unique, and the result is breathtaking. It's a dark, sensual, and thoughtful novel about a young woman coming to terms wi...

  • Marchpane

    A unique examination of painful adolescenceFreshwater is bewitching, bewildering and arresting in equal measure. The novel combines an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative style with the central c...

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    Freshwater is a stunning novel, one that I dove into and couldn't surface out of for a while. It's like a pool of dark water that you don't really even want to get out of. And I was sad when the book ...

  • Jenna

    "“The first madness was that we were born, that they stuffed a god into a bag of skin.” 25 pages into this book, I was ready to DNF it. I told myself I'd stick with it until page 50 though I dre...