Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu – Book Review

Book Title: Here Again Now (review copy)

Author: Okechukwu Nzelu

Genre/Themes: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Character Driven, Illness, Grief, Loss, Fathers and Sons, LGBTQ+, Self Acceptance

Blurb from Goodreads

From award-winning author Okechukwu Nzelu comes a spellbinding literary novel that asks, how do you move forward when the past keeps pulling you back?

Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he’s about to get his break as an actor. He’s even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home of his own. 

Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better.

But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they’ve been searching for… 

A heartbreaking and immensely uplifting novel about lovers, fathers and sons. If you love The Vanishing Half, Ta Nehisi-Coates or Girl, Woman, Other then you’ll adore this this incredibly moving book that shows the power of family – both the one into which we are born and those we choose for ourselves.

My Review

What is it we search for as readers?

Is it to escape from our lives for a little while? Is it to give us a reason to laugh or to cry? Or is it to try and understand this thing we call the human condition?

To find a book that envelops our souls wholly, completely, and when we finish reading them to feel eternally changed…

I know for me as a reader I can love a great many books. They can move me in a variety of ways that always keeps me returning to my favourite hobby. And as a reviewer I can offer my five star rating to many genres that transport me away from my own little life.

But to find that rarity; a book that consumes me body, mind, and soul. That most pure of prose that touches me in ways that I struggle to contextualise…

Here Again Now is that book for me.

I’m struggling to find the words to express how much I loved this book. How I lived with it for a month savouring the exquisite beauty and searing pain of its narrative. How I never wanted the book to end but conversely wanted to drink it in in one long swallow.

It’s too simple to say this is a book about love. But for me that’s exactly what this book is, it’s about love. Love in its most pure of forms. The love for yourself. So much of this book is about trusting yourself to love. Breaking down the walls that pain has built around you.

The narrative follows three men. A father Chibuike. His son Achike. And and the son’s lifelong friend and companion Ekene. But it’s far more complex than that. There’s fatherly love. Romantic love. Self love. Self loathing. Feelings of inadequacy dominate these interpersonal relationships. And it’s through a most devastating loss that these men need to struggle to find their inner peace.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story. In many ways the story isn’t important. This book is all about baring your soul to another person. Letting them see you as you see yourself. It’s about being brave. About drowning in grief and pain, and struggling to find that single shaft of light.

I’m truly in awe of the author Okechukwu Nzelu. The rawness and bravery of his prose. This is one of those books that feels like the author has carved open his heart and fashioned his thoughts and emotions into the most breathtakingly beautiful work of art. I feel privileged to have read this gorgeous book and the stories of these delicately drawn characters.

Reading the character of Ekene’s thoughts in particular felt so disarmingly intimate. I ached for him. Ached for him to find his peace. To find that singular moment that would show him how worthy of love he is. How what was once broken can be made new again.

As for my beautiful Achike… the purity of his soul touched me in ways I cannot express.

And the tragedy of Chibuike… I think his character was the one that surprised and shocked me. His hidden depths once revealed just broke my heart.

I loved each of these three men and their stories will stay with me forever. Simply put I could not recommend this book enough. Everyone needs to read it.

*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*

Publication Date 10th March 2022 Little, Brown Book Group UK / Dialogue Books

Other Works by Okechukwu Nzelu I’ve Reviewed

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10 thoughts on “Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu – Book Review

  1. I love when I read a review and I can just how much a book has impacted a reader and how much the book meant to them. That’s exactly what I can tell by this review and you’ve got me excited to read this. It’s going straight on my TBR wishlist and I hope I can get my hands on it soon. Fab review, Emer! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh I will definitely be adding this to my TBR list and keeping an eye out at my libraries. I’ve mainly been reading fantasy & more romance types as escapes lately (and also, because I never let myself when younger!), but I love me a good baring of the soul and how that sits different.

    Liked by 1 person

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