Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson – Our Review
The story of two young artists, a photographer and dancer, who are drawn together through their art and struggle to belong in a society that seems to have predetermined ideas of who they are and can be. Written in the second person, “You” are immediately immersed in the inner monologue of the narrator who is grappling with what it means to really know a person beyond superficial appearance and how to be vulnerable and honest without drowning in past trauma.
With repeated phrases like, “multiple truths do exist” it possesses its own rhythm and lyrical quality that contributes to Caleb Azumah Nelson’s intertwining of the philosophy of Baldwin and Kierkegaard, the writing of Zadie Smith and the music of Frank Ocean and Pulitzer Prize winning, Kendrick Lamar, is (to use his own words) “like headphone wires tangling, caught up in this…messy miracle.”
This novel is captivatingly honest and courageous and, in a world that seems intent on categorising and dividing us, it encourages empathy through sharing our vulnerabilities and finds the words for “when language fails us.” A must read for those who enjoyed the Oscar winning film, Moonlight or have loved the writing of Hanya Yanagihara or Ocean Vuong.
Review by Katina @ Great Escape Books