Social Media Icons

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Review: Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz

Shallow Waters
by Anita Kopacz

Thanks so much to Atria/Black Privilege Publishing for this gifted book.

Publisher: Atria/Black Privilege Publishing
Publish Date: August 3, 2021
224 Pages
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Historical Fiction, African

Shallow Waters imagines Yemaya, an OrĂ¯sha—a deity in the religion of Africa’s Yoruba people—cast into mid-1800s America. We meet Yemaya as a young woman, still in the care of her mother and not yet fully aware of the spectacular power she possesses to protect herself and those she holds dear.

The journey laid out in Shallow Waters sees Yemaya confront the greatest evils of this era; transcend time and place in search of Obatala, a man who sacrifices his own freedom for the chance at hers; and grow into the powerful woman she was destined to become. We travel alongside Yemaya from her native Africa and on to the “New World,” with vivid pictures of life for those left on the outskirts of power in the nascent Americas.

Yemaya realizes the fighter within, travels the Underground Railroad in search of the mysterious stranger Obatala, and crosses paths with icons of our history on the road to freedom. Shallow Waters is a nourishing work of ritual storytelling from promising debut author Anita Kopacz.

My Review:

This debut novel is beautifully written and spans the genres of historical fiction, fantasy, mythology and African culture. When I read the opening where it appears a mermaid is emerging from her shell now with her legs, I knew instantly I was going to love this read.  

In this book, we see the world solely through Yemana's eyes.  She falls in love with Obatala when he releases her from a net and becomes punished for it.  From this point she is on a mission to find him. Slavery, Abolitionists, Quakers, Mers, Yoruba folklore, the Underground Railroad... all stories told throughout her travels towards him. While very lyrical, it is also very straight forward in its story telling and comes across like a young adult novel and I am here for it.

I think some people will want the story itself expanded in certain ways re the historical references but for me, I felt the 224 pages of Yemana's journey to find her love compelling, though at some times hard to read.  The descriptives of Yemana's power were fascinating and I became entranced in each part as she traveled and as she grew into her womanhood. I do wish there had been some more character development and little more information on why Yemana and Obtala's bond was so strong after such a brief meeting.  Overall I did really enjoy the journey.


No comments

Leave a Comment