Title: Open Water
Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Viking Books Uk
Length: 145 pages
Synopsis: Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both now are artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that both celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. The writing is absolutely phenomenal. Honestly, I can’t stress enough how beautiful it is. You’ll reread the book again just to get lost in its prose. I know I’ll reread it again because of this. It was so beautifully honest and raw that it had me crying from its sheer beauty. You can feel the authors soul on the page and in turn it captures yours. It’s exquisite. It really is. Have I stressed enough how beautiful is it? Good.
Open Water, is a short novel, coming in at only 145 pages but it packs a punch. It has so much to say (and it says it beautifully, I’m just making sure you got the message). It really captures the intimate and tender moments of falling in love, it makes it feel so profound. Caleb makes it feel like its only something these two characters can do. It also captures the hesitancy and the trepidation of what falling in love can do. As we follow their relationship and slowly begin to see it unravel, its heartbreaking and Caleb captures it perfectly.
This book also takes a look at racism in the UK and what its like to grow up Black in Britain. It discusses it so honestly, and eloquently that I think it makes it a book every young black man should read. There’s not enough representation for young black men to see themselves in literature in the UK. It addresses everything from Police Brutality, to micro aggressions and to what it means to feel what it likes to never be seen as person, only as ‘black body’, especially in the Uk. I think it’s a book everyone should read.
This is Caleb’s debut novel and it’s phenomenal. It’s so assured and beautiful. I know I’ll definitely be reading whatever Caleb writes next. It’s a moving novel, I won’t forget. I can’t recommend this one to you enough.
Thank you so much to Viking Books UK for my copy of Open Water in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 4th.
Until the next review