Open Water by  Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water

Caleb Azumah Nelson

Charting the emergent love of two young Black artists in South East London - a photographer and a dancer - this is an exquisitely emotional read. Underlying the book's personal intimacy is a constant trauma that terrorises the unnamed protagonist - power structures constraining and controlling the Black body. Slight but tenderly powerful, with it's cultural influences front and centre - I recommend reading Open Water with Spotify ready to play.


You walk home from Deptford to Bellingham. You spend the hour wondering about how you will both recollect this evening. You think about what it means to desire your best friend in this way. You think about holding onto this feeling for so long, holding it down, holding it in, because sometimes it's easier to hide in your own darkness than to emerge, naked and vulnerable, blinking in your own light. You think about whether she has been doing the same. You think about spillage, and whether this is something that can be mopped up. You think as you walk through the night, wandering familiar streets with these unfamiliar feelings. At some point, the sun begins to break the horizon, and you find yourself in the park, prone on the ground. The grass cool against the heat of your desire, life still against the pace of your racing heart.

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