Small Worldsby Caleb Azumah Nelson
An exhilarating and expansive new novel about fathers and sons, faith and friendship from National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Costa First Novel Award winning author Caleb Azumah Nelson
One of the most acclaimed and internationally bestselling “unforgettable” (New York Times) debuts of 2021, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s London-set love story Open Water took the US by storm and introduced the world to a salient and insightful new voice in fiction. Now, with his second novel Small Worlds, the prodigious Azumah Nelson brings another set of enduring characters to brilliant life in his signature rhythmic, melodic prose.
Set over the course of three summers, Small Worlds follows Stephen, a first-generation Londoner born to Ghanaian immigrant parents, brother to Ray, and best friend to Adeline. On the cusp of big life changes, Stephen feels pressured to follow a certain path—a university degree, a move out of home—but when he decides instead to follow his first love, music, his world and family fractures in ways he didn’t foresee. Now Stephen must find a path and peace for himself: a space he can feel beautiful, a space he can feel free.
Moving from London, England to Accra, Ghana and back again, Small Worlds is an exquisite and intimate new novel about the people and places we hold close, from one of the most “elegant, poetic” (CNN) and important voices of a generation.
A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 from the Guardian and Huffington Post (UK)
“A story about an artist feeling the opposite pulls of family and his true passion, and how splintering those demands can be. A chance to get lost in Caleb Azumah Nelson’s sonorous prose again? Music to our ears.”—Literary Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2023
“The rhythms of Small Worlds are a feature of Nelson’s quiet, particular ear and of a profound engagement with music. Nelson writes about closeness, with family, with lovers, with art, as careful, essential labour.”—Raven Leilani, New York Times bestselling author of Luster
“A novel that feels as intimate as it does expansive; Caleb Azumah Nelson has given to us a love story that goes beyond two people. Instead, there are no bounds to his exploration of exactly what the heart can feel. Beautiful, unforgettable and all-consuming.”—Candice Carty-Williams, Sunday Times bestselling author of Queenie
“Azumah Nelson’s poetic brilliance, his ability to balance the general and the specific, the ambient and the granular, makes for a salient achievement… It’s Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole…Whether he’s describing a tense police encounter or lovers intertwined, when he’s great, which is often, his descriptive powers are truly special.” — New York Times Book Review
“Masterly.” — TIME
“Gorgeous and lyrical.” — Boston Globe
“As imaginative as it is engaging.” — Los Angeles Review of Books
“Stunning . . . this emotionally rich debut tells a budding love story against backdrops of Black culture, joy, and pain.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[A] once-in-a-blue-moon kind of read, a truly remarkable debut from a gifted young wordsmith . . . The novel is at once a celebration of Black love and Black art and expression; its words vibrate and resonate at a steady, rhythmic cadence throughout the text. . . . thoroughly unforgettable.” —Buzzfeed
“Sincere and contemplative.” —Vulture
“A powerful and sensitive writer . . .By turns poetic and hopeful, searching and harsh, Open Water is, by all measures, the introduction of a talented new voice in literature.” —Amazon