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ARC Book Review: Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Title: Here Again Now

Author: Okechukwu Nzelu

Publisher: Dialogue Books

Length: 288 pages

Synopsis: Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he’s about to get his big break as an actor. He’s even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home if his own. Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better. But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within in a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they’ve been searching for…

This is by far my favourite book of 2022. It was the first book I read this year because I knew it would be special. And it was. It truly was.

Here Again Now, is a book about love. Love in all it’s forms. What it’s like to feel it but not say, what it’s like to not be able to admit, what it’s like to not be able to show, to not be ready for it. Okechukwu takes the reader to the depths of what love is and what it really means.

It’s about romantic love, in the case between Ekene and Achike. First Okechukwu captures the intamcy between them perfectly. It feels so real, so raw, yet it feels like it can be taken away at any second. It’s tinged with the awkwardness and the uncertainty and it crackles on the page. To read love between two men like this is just an absolute treat. 

It also explores the precarious relationship of Achike and his father Chibuike. The love here is so tenuous and constricted and Okechukwu conveys it perfectly. It’s also a deep look at the damage that can be done when love it withheld, when its conditional. What I really enjoy about the novel is how Okechukwu shows how simple love really is, how joyful it can be before aspects get in the way.

Here Again Now is full of complex characters that really will earn a place in your heart. I know I’ll never forget Achike and Ekene. All these characters are dealing with grief, masculinity, what it means to be your true self. And it’s all glorious to read.

Okechukwu is a phenomenal writer. I can’t tell you how many times the beauty in his words made me cry. I had to pause reading a lot to really let it sink in what I’d just read. I still think about the writing in this book. It’s so tender and searing honest. Okechukwu said he’s put his soul into this book and you can absolutely feel.

There are moments in this book that shocked me, that broke me but I was left with a feeling of hope. Basically what I’m trying to say is its one of my new favourite books and you should all read it! Okay!

Here Again Now is a tender exploration of love in its many forms that will soar into readers hearts with lyrical prose.

I can’t recommend this book to you all enough. I think it’s truly something special.

Thank you to the publishers for my copy in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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