There is some prose that, upon reading a single sentence, immediately strikes a chord. Caleb Azumah Nelson’s writing is like that. Whether describing a serendipitous glance between two unwitting lovers or the uncontrollable urge to surrender the self to a new crush, Nelson’s debut novel Open Water palpably captivates, as it tells a soulful story of two young Black artists in London who fall in and out of love. Told in second-person, the novel explores how to learn to love—in all it softness and vulnerability—in a world that forces and reveres masculinity and resilience. Beautiful and unforgettable, Open Water is a breathtaking portrait set within the fear and violence of reality.