Open Water (Hardback)Caleb Azumah Nelson (author)
A tender and emotionally complex debut about the relationship between two young Black British artists, Open Water shines a light on the ways love and race can be interlinked in modern society.
Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021
Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2021
A stunning, shattering debut novel about two Black British artists falling in and out of love.
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 are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turns 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.
At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 204 x 138 x 18 mm
'A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love' - Candice Carty-Williams, Sunday Times bestselling author of Queenie
'Open Water is tender poetry, a love song to black art and thought, an exploration of intimacy and vulnerability between two young artists learning to be soft with each other in a world that hardens against black people' - Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of Homegoing
'This is an amazing debut novel. It's a beautifully narrated, intelligently crafted piece of love that goes deep, then goes deeper. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future' - Benjamin Zephaniah, award-winning poet, playwright and novelist
'Open Water is a very touching and heartfelt book, passionately written, which brings London to life in a painterly, emotive way. I love its musical richness and espousal of the power of the arts - pictures, sounds, movement' - Diana Evans, Women's Prize shortlisted author of Ordinary People
'Open Water encapsulates what it means to fall in love, explores what it means to move through the world whilst black, and explores the beautiful melding of the two. I will always remember it, and I will always return to this novel. A stunning piece of art.' - Bolu Babalola, Sunday Times bestselling author of Love in Colour
'A short, sharp poetic burst of a novel; it crystallises the torments and heat of young love brilliantly' - Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of Physical
'Open Water is a powerful portrayal of the way that systemic violence can make a person forget softness and vulnerability. It exposes the failure of language to encapsulate feeling and illuminates the love and the anger that rage around the edges of everything' - Jessica Andrews, award-winning author of Saltwater
'Open Water is about defiance, mourning, art and music. It is an ode to being a full human being in a society that does not see you that way. It is about clinging to love in a world heavy with injustice and violence. There is not a wasted page.' - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, award-winning author of Starling Days
'Open Water has a delicate, painterly quality while packing a real emotional punch. Caleb Azumah Nelson is a real talent' - Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy, Exposure and Asylum Road
'Open Water is a beautifully, delicately written novel about love, for self and others, about being seen, about vulnerability and mental health. Sentence by sentence, it oozes longing and grace. Caleb is a star in the making.' - Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant and author of Brown Baby
'Open Water is the most mesmerising read. Caleb Azumah Nelson writes voice like a young Baldwin, placing himself both inside and outside the world he describes. Open Water drew me in, hypnotised me and left me, a few hours later, both devastated and a little high. This is the kind of novel which doesn't let go.' - Jan Carson, award-winning author of The Fire Starters
'Lush, urban, black, British and beautiful' - Inua Ellams, award-winning playwright and poet
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“A debut to watch out in 2021.”
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Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy.
This was my 230th read of 2020 and so far the best book I have read this year, I am clearly going to have to recommend everyone reads this!
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“A poetic debut”
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