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Aftershocks: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Identity

Nadia Owusu

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs, African history, Sociology: family & relationships, The self, ego, identity, personality

An exceptional memoir about race, family and belonging for a moment when identity and division dominate our global politics

'One of the most moving books of the new year' STYLIST

'Gorgeous and unsettling' NEW YORK TIMES

'Brilliant and devastating...tender and lacerating' PANDORA SYKES

'One of the literary world's most promising new voices' RED

I have lived in disaster and disaster has lived in me. Our shared languages are thunder and reverberation. When Nadia Owusu was two years old her mother abandoned her and her baby sister and fled from Tanzania back to the US. When she was thirteen her beloved Ghanaian father died of cancer. She and her sister were left alone, with a stepmother they didn't like, adrift.

Nadia Owusu is a woman of many languages, homelands and identities. She grew up in Rome, Dar-es-Salaam, Addis Ababa, Kumasi, Kampala and London. And for every new place there was a new language, a new identity and a new home. At times she has felt stateless, motherless and identity-less. At others, she has had multiple identities at war within her. It's no wonder she started to feel fault lines in her sense of self. It's no wonder that those fault lines eventually ruptured.

Aftershocks is the account of how she hauled herself out of the wreckage. It is the intimate story behind the news of immigration and division dominating contemporary politics. Nadia Owusu's astonishingly moving and incredibly timely memoir is a nuanced portrait of globalisation from the inside in a fractured world in crisis.

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Praise for Aftershocks: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Identity

  • A beautiful and ultimately redemptive story, written in lyrical prose that calls to mind Audre Lorde, Natasha Trethewey, and Toni Morrison.

  • One of the literary world's most promising new voices . . . An intimate look behind the division of today's world. - Red

  • Triumphant: the survivor's account of a thoughtful, passionate young writer grappling with life's demons - Harper's Magazine

  • 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. - Cosmopolitan

  • Striking - Vogue US

  • Owusu's personal history intertwines with the political and geographical to create one of the most moving books of the new year. - Stylist

  • A devastating memoir about identity, immigration and fractured society from the daughter of an Armenian American mother and Ghanaian father. - Independent

  • 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. -

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Nadia Owusu

Nadia Owusu is a Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, was a winner of The Atlas Review chapbook series and was published in 2019. Nadia grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. By day, she is the director of storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a black-owned consulting firm that helps social-change organizations to define goals, execute plans, and evaluate impact. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, the Washington Post's The Lily, Orion, the Literary Review, the Paris Review Daily, Catapult, Bon AppA tit, and others.

She is a graduate of Pace University (BA), Hunter College (MS), and the Mountainview MFA program where she now teaches and where she won the Robert J. Begeibing Prize for exceptional work.

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