book cover of Open Water
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Open Water

(2021)
A novel by

 
 
WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD AND A NO.1 BESTSELLER IN THE TIMES

'A tender and touching love story, beautifully told' Observer


'Hands-down the best debut I've read in years' The Times

'A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love' Candice Carty-Williams, bestselling author of QUEENIE


'An unforgettable debut... it's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole' New York Times


'A love song to Black art and thought' Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of HOMEGOING and TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM

Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.

'An amazing debut novel. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future' Benjamin Zephaniah

'A short, poetic and intellectual meditation on art and a relationship between a young couple' Bernardine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

'A very touching and heartfelt book' Diana Evans, award-winning author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

'A lyrical modern love story, brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely' David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and SWEET SORROW

'Caleb is a star in the making' Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT and BROWN BABY

'A stunning piece of art' Bolu Babalola, bestselling author of LOVE IN COLOUR

'For those that are missing the tentative depiction of love in Normal People, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water is set to become one of 2021's unmissable books. Utterly transporting, it'll leave you weeping and in awe.' Stylist

'
An exhilarating new voice in British fiction' Vogue

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

'An intense, elegant debut' Guardian

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2021
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER OF THE BAD FORM BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE, THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE AND THE GORDON BURN PRIZE
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD '5 UNDER 35' HONOREE


Pre-order Caleb Azumah Nelson's new novel SMALL WORLDS now




Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Open Water is 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

"Open Water encapsulates what it means to fall in love, explores what it means to move through the world whilst black, and explores the beautiful melding of the two. I will always remember it, and I will always return to this novel. A stunning piece of art." - Bolu Babalola

"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

"A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love." - Candice Carty-Williams

"Open Water is a very touching and heartfelt book, passionately written, which brings London to life in a painterly, emotive way. I love its musical richness and espousal of the power of the arts - pictures, sounds, movement." - Diana Evans

"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

"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

"Open Water has a delicate, painterly quality while packing a real emotional punch. Caleb Azumah Nelson is a real talent." - Olivia Sudjic

"This is an amazing debut novel. It's a beautifully narrated, intelligently crafted piece of love that goes deep, then goes deeper. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future." - Benjamin Zephaniah


Used availability for Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water

Hardback Editions

January 2021 : UK Hardback
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Title: Open Water: Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
ISBN: 0-241-44877-8 / 978-0-241-44877-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

January 2022 : UK Paperback
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Title: Open Water: Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
ISBN: 0-241-44878-6 / 978-0-241-44878-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


April 2021 : USA Paperback
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
ISBN: 0-8021-5794-7 / 978-0-8021-5794-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

June 2021 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
ISBN: 1-71362-424-9 / 978-1-71362-424-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


April 2021 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon   


April 2021 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon CA   


February 2021 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


February 2021 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon AU   


February 2021 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

April 2021 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Open Water
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


February 2021 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Open Water: Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021
Author(s): Caleb Azumah Nelson
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU