Open Water

21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$16.00  $14.88
Grove Press, Black Cat
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.45 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Caleb Azumah Nelson is a British-Ghanaian writer and photographer, living in South East London. His writing is forthcoming or has been published in THE WHITE REVIEW, LITRO and he was recently shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Award, the Palm Photo Prize and won the People's Choice prize. OPEN WATER is his first novel.

One of Vulture's "46 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021"
One of Paperback Paris' "100 Most Anticipated New Books of 2021"
One of Guardian( UK)'s
"Books to Look Forward to this Year"
One of Esquire (UK)'s "21 Books You Should Be Reading in 2021"
One of Cosmopolitan (UK)'s "69 new books by Black and POC authors out in 2021"
One of Elle (UK)'s "2021 Reading List"
One of Vogue (UK)'s "2021's most dazzling Debut Novels"
One of Frieze's "What to Look Forward to in 2021"
One of Stylist (UK)'s "48 Unmissable Books New Books to Read This Year"
One of Evening Standard (UK)'s "Best New Books in 2021"
One of The Metro (UK)'s "10 Gripping Books to Look out for this Year"

One of the New Stateman's "Most Anticipated Fiction of 2021"

"Nelson's impressive first novel is tender, lyrical, and all-consuming. . . . In expertly crafted, poetic prose, this British Ghanaian writer tells the story of two young Black artists falling in love, falling out of love, and learning how to be soft and vulnerable in a society that refuses to allow them to be so. . . . A truly exceptional debut."--Booklist (starred review)

"Nelson's breathtaking lyrical debut employs a love story to explore systemic racism and the cultural impact of Black artists. . . . Nelson astutely locates the importance of Black cinema, music, and literature in their lives while capturing the terror brought on by police brutality and the expectations of young Black men to bottle up their emotions. The result is consistently powerful."--Publishers Weekly

"Sincere and contemplative."--Vulture

"An intense, elegant debut."--Guardian UK

"Achingly tender and intensely moving...a majestic debut."--Cosmopolitan UK

"A modern love story that pulls the reader close."--Esquire UK

"Caleb Azumah Nelson explores the power of being truly seen by another, in a world that often refuses to recognize you at all. An exhilarating new voice in British fiction."--Vogue UK

"A poetic novel about Black identity and first love in the capital from one of Britain's most exciting young voices."--Harper's Bazaar

"This shattering love story about two Black British artists is a compelling insight into race and masculinity. You'll remember this author's name."--Elle UK

"A brilliant debut whose gentleness and joyfulness are as profound as its examination of the cost of living in a racist society."--Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING

"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, author of HOMEGOING

"Set to the rhythms of jazz and hip hop, Open Water is an unforgettable story about making art and making a home in another person. In language bursting with grief and joy, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the ode to Black creativity, love, and survival that we need right now."--Nadia Owusu, author of AFTERSHOCKS

"Like the title suggests, Open Water pulls you in with one great swell, and it holds you there closely. A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love."--Candice Carty-Williams, author of QUEENIE

"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

"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, author of SALTWATER

"An amazing debut novel. It's a beautifully narrated, intelligently crafted piece of love that goes deep, and then goes deeper. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future."--Benjamin Zephaniah

"I fell in love at the first line. Open Water is poetry, dance and music, and art, and reading it feels like moving within love, and its iterations through all the above. The book moved me and stilled me, such sumptuous prose, that clarifies whilst also keeping reverence of the sometimes, unexplainable facets of love and life and Blackness. I will always remember it, and I will always return to this novel. A stunning piece of art."--Bolu Babalola, author of LOVE IN COLOR

"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, author of HARMLESS LIKE YOU

"A very touching and heartfelt book, passionately written, that brings London to life in a painterly, emotive way. I love its musical richness and espousal of the power of the arts."--Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE