Akwaeke Emezi sits down with news anchor, Laila Harrak to discuss Freshwater, which explores Igbo spirituality as a foreign and familiar concept and a narrative that delves into identity, mental illness and the multiple realities we inhabit.
She speaks about the main character, Ada, who she describes as a “plural individual” or a “single collective” who has trouble with embodiment and creates multiple personalities out of it. On why she describes identity as a collective narrative which she sticks to throughout novel, Akwaeke says:
“We’re never just in one box, we’re never just under one label. It’s multiple things happening at the same time — multiple realities happening at the same — and with freshwater i really wanted to bring the reader into that experience, not pick one out from it and follow that thread but to just bring the reader into the entire tapestry. So, all that complexity, all that richness, and at times, all that confusion can be felt all at once.”