Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Here Again Now is a novel about love, bonds, and grief, as three men try and work out what family is for them. Achike is an actor finally breaking into the industry, just having bought a flat in Peckham, where his best friend Ekene, who he’s known since they were both teenagers, has been living temporarily. Their bond is deep, but fragile and potentially changing. When Achike’s father Chibuike also moves into the flat, the three men suddenly have to work out their dynamics with each other, until tragedy strikes and their bonds change yet again.

This is a bittersweet, often sad novel, that focuses a lot on grief and missed chances to show love, but it also looks a lot at different kinds of bonds between men and ways that fathers and sons express connections. The opening of the book explores Achike and Ekene’s relationship, and I found it compelling and believable, especially all the little moments between them and yet the boundaries they kept up. The narrative quickly becomes heartbreaking, and then moves between the present and past, with not much happening except an exploration of two characters finding new ways to relate to each other. The prose style worked well for the content, feeling lyrical and sad, but despite the tragedy, the book also focuses on how people navigate moving on whilst grieving and coming to terms with their relationship with someone who is gone.

Tender and bittersweet, this is a book that explores bonds between men in different forms and how relationships change and develop. It is more of a character study of three men than something with a lot of plot and it doesn’t bring much resolution, which won’t be for everyone, but it offers a lot between its pages.