Nadia Owusu's Aftershocks bleeds honesty. It is a majestically rendered telling of all the history, hurt and love a body can contain. A wonderful work of art made of so many stories and histories it is bursting with both harshness and perseverance. An incredible debut.
Aftershocks is more than just a book - it is delicate, intricate choreography. This memoir is a testimony to how certain books and writers can tell you their story in a way that mirrors your own. Even if the facts of that story are different, the emotion is familiar. Owusu is that writer. She has created a book full of shared emotional memories and I wanted to sit in those memories with her for as long as I could. Nadia Owusu is powerful, beautiful, poetic, and Aftershocks is a testimony to her commitment to constructing towering, lovingly-rendered sentences. Quite simply, Aftershocks is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
Aftershocks is a triptych feat of style: the lucid language, the masterful handling of time, the brilliance of its seismic theme. It's also an astute exploration of the long legacy of colonialism. Owusu is a product of that political and cultural collision, and one of the great gifts of this compelling memoir is the moving narrative of her reconciling that identity. And if that weren't enough, Aftershocks is an indelible portrait of Owusu's resilience in the face of almost unfathomable familial trauma as well as her immortal love for her father.
A stunning, visceral book about the ways that our stories-of loss, of love, of borders-leave permanent marks on our bodies and minds.
Extraordinary . . . A writer to watch.
Engrossing . . . an impressive debut memoir. [Owusu is] a promising writer.
In her enthralling memoir, Whiting Award-winner Owusu (So Devilish a Fire) assesses the impact of key events in her life via the metaphor of earthquakes . . . Readers will be moved by this well-wrought memoir.
Brilliant and devastating, this memoir is an exploration of displacement, told through earthquakes both real and allegorical. Nadia, abandoned by her mother as a young child, and moved all over the world by a diplomat father, writes about her struggle to find a peace she can call home in a way that is both tender and lacerating.
Aftershocks is brilliant and devastating. Nadia Owusu employs language with precision and care, reckoning with herself and her various histories with a beautiful, tender rhythm. Her words will stay with me for a long time.
A devastating memoir about identity, immigration and fractured society from the daughter of an Armenian American mother and Ghanaian father.
A stunningly written, heart wrenching book that completely took me by surprise. The best book I've read so far this year.
A beautiful and ultimately redemptive story, written in lyrical prose that calls to mind Audre Lorde, Natasha Trethewey, and Toni Morrison.
A timely memoir, revealing the real lives behind the headlines of immigration that dominate our media, as Owusu - who grew up in Rome, Dar-es-Salaam, Addis Ababa, Kumasi, Kampala and London - shares her fascinating story.
Extraordinarily intense . . . the way [Owusu] sustains her intensity is astonishing. Her fierce intelligence and commitment embrace the complexity and urgency of the issues . . . This is a book of almost ceaseless questions but undoubtedly the key one is: what is home?
Nadia Owusu's debut book tells the incredible story of her childhood. How does a girl - abandoned by her mother at age 2 and orphaned at 13 when her beloved father dies - find her place in the world? Aftershocks is the story of Nadia creating her own solid ground across countries and continents. This is an exceptionally gripping and hard-to-put-down memoir of a remarkable young woman - I can't wait to see what she does next.
One of the literary world's most promising new voices . . . An intimate look behind the division of today's world.
Triumphant: the survivor's account of a thoughtful, passionate young writer grappling with life's demons
Gripping . . . Tackling themes of belonging, identity, race, notions of home and the ripple effects of trauma . . . Owusu's prose is as poignant as it is emotionally charged . . . Triumphant.
Owusu's personal history intertwines with the political and geographical to create one of the most moving books of the new year.
In a literary landscape rich with diaspora memoirs, Owusu's painful yet radiant story rises to the forefront. The daughter of an Armenian-American mother who abandoned her and a heroic Ghanaian father who died when she was thirteen, Nadia drifted across continents in a trek that she renders here with poetic, indelible prose.
An engaging and reflective new memoir focused on universal themes of home, abandonment, identity and autonomy.
A memoir that broods on lost identity and statelessness.
This earth-shattering memoir uses the aftershock - both literal and metaphorical - as a framing device and inspiration. Owusu explores the geopolitical, geological, and psychological traumas that have marked her young life, from moving between countries across Africa and Europe as the daughter of a United Nations employee to her estrangement from her mother and her father's eventual death, as well as living through a civil war in Ethiopia and the 9/11 attacks (to name a few!).
A white-hot interrogation of the stories we carry in our bodies and the power they have to tear us apart. Owusu illuminates the blood and bones wrought by our borders and teaches us the necessity of owning our narratives when personal and collective histories have been shattered by violence.
In reading Aftershocks, I went on an incredible (and moving) journey with a young woman whose past and present play out across Africa, Europe and America. I felt acutely Owusu's pain and the joy of her self-discovery through her intense and intimate prose. What a moving and beautifully written personal history, one infused with questions of post-colonial identity and the challenge of modern womanhood. I loved the book. I loved her voice.
Nadia Owusu has lived multiple lives. And each has demanded much of her. She has met and surpassed those demands with her memoir, Aftershocks. Owusu is half-Armenian, half-Ghanaian; socially privileged and psychologically wounded. Her task and burden are threefold: to chronicle the historical wounds and legacies of each country; to chart her own descent into grief, mania and madness; to begin the work of emotional reconstruction. She does so with unerring honesty and in prose that is both rigorous and luminous.