Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water

“Language fails us, and sometimes our parents do too. We all fail each other, sometimes small, sometimes big, but look, when we love we trust, and when we fail, we fracture that joint.”

Open Water is a deeply emotional and introspective book. It’s a brilliant write, and I must say Caleb is a genius! The book hooks you from beginning to end!

There are books you read and books you experience- you experience Open Water. No third party would be able to narrate this story to you. To understand it, you must read it to experience it. It’s not about the plot or the structure. Rather, it’s the storytelling, and the use of language. It’s an altogether magical combination!

The story is centered on friendship, love, vulnerability, masculinity, life, family, depression, and mental health.

Caleb’s use of language is brilliant. He did not waste any words; each word was accounted for, and each comma and full stop meant something. There is an intentionality in the way he writes, and his descriptions are so vivid you can literally feel what is happening.

“I’m very tired.”… You hear her low exhale and know she understands you’re not tired in the way sleep will solve, no. You’re weary. You’re not without joy, but the pain is much, often”

The storytelling is soothing, intimate, and vulnerable. Caleb’s wordplay is amazing. I love his descriptions- the poetic and prose feel of them. I often pause and look at the construction of sentences and wonder how the hell he did that.

The book holds me softly, cuddly, and I am glad I decided to read it when I did. I was totally blown away, and for this reason, I totally recommend it.

However, this book is not for everyone. It’s for certain kinds of readers- readers with good palettes and acquired tastes.

Caleb is everything he thinks he is and more.

Nasiba Mbabe Bawa

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