Nadia Owusu

Cindy Seip

Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner Nadia Owusu’s Aftershocks: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster) is a tale of survival and finding identity amid the wreckage of a life marked by constant change and loss. It’s an instability wrought by her nomadic childhood, deepened by family secrets and fractures both lived and inherited. Her mother abandoned her when she was 2, then reappeared only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian United Nations official, constantly moved his family around the world until he died when she was 13. With these and other ruptures, Owusu arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. The New York Times noted that “Owusu is unflinching in examining herself … In the end, Owusu ultimately answers what home is. Her definition is pure and restorative to read. ‘I am made of the earth, flesh, ocean, blood, and bone of all the places I tried to belong to and all the people I long for. I am pieces. I am whole. I am home.’”