• Small Worlds
  • Small Worlds
  • Small Worlds
  • Small Worlds

Small Worlds: Signed Edition

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 11/05/2023
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Bookseller Reviews

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Small Worlds
Another lyrical masterpiece from the author of Open Water
Stephen lives with his mum and dad (who both grew up in Ghana) and brother Ray in South London amidst a close-knit black community. Stephen has inherited h... READ MORE
Small Worlds
Lyrical and moving
With thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for my proof copy. Another great one from Caleb! Loved Open Water last year so was an easy choice to dive str... READ MORE
Michaela at Waterstones Birkenhead
Small Worlds
Another beautifully moving masterpiece from the king of lyrical prose!
Simply, no one does it quite like Caleb. His way of masterfully weaving language together pieces together the most honest, vivid, and emotional portrayals ... READ MORE
Emily M at Manchester Arndale
Small Worlds
I cannot express how much I believe that everybody should read this
Small worlds follows Stephen as he journeys through summers in London and Ghana, relationships blossoming and unravelling, faith, trauma, grief and rhythm.... READ MORE
Léa at Brighton
Small Worlds
A Fantastic Follow Up
‘Small Worlds’ was a reading journey that few books are able conjure. The story is beautifully crafted, with reminiscent summer settings that leave your wa... READ MORE
Josh (Waterstones Chichester)
Small Worlds
Lyrical and Luminous
I was immersed in this novel; the prose is hypnotic and so well observed. Nelson weaves a coming of age tale about discovering our place in the world, and ... READ MORE
Julie at Hatchards
Small Worlds
Beautifully raw and loving
I was so excited to receive a copy of ‘Small Worlds’ by Caleb Azumah Nelson after absolutely loving ‘Open Water’ last year - and for me, this was even bett... READ MORE
Emily Witty
Small Worlds
Absolute perfection in a novel!
I absolutely adored Caleb Azumah Nelson's debut novel, Open Water, and so I was fortunate enough to be sent an early review copy of Small Worlds by the tea... READ MORE
Emily at Waterstones Exeter


The one thing that can solve Stephen's problems is dancing. Dancing at Church, with his parents and brother, the shimmer of Black hands raised in praise; he might have lost his faith, but he does believe in rhythm. Dancing with his friends, somewhere in a basement with the drums about to drop, while the DJ spins garage cuts. Dancing with his band, making music which speaks not just to the hardships of their lives, but the joys too. Dancing with his best friend Adeline, two-stepping around the living room, crooning and grooving, so close their heads might touch. Dancing alone, at home, to his father's records, uncovering parts of a man he has never truly known. Stephen has only ever known himself in song. But what becomes of him when the music fades? When his father begins to speak of shame and sacrifice, when his home is no longer his own? How will he find space for himself: a place where he can feel beautiful, a place he might feel free? Set over the course of three summers in Stephen's life, from London to Ghana and back again, Small Worlds is an exhilarating and expansive novel about the worlds we build for ourselves, the worlds we live, dance and love within.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 2928377160081
  • Number of pages: 240
  • Weight: 500g
  • Dimensions: 204 x 132 x 25 mm

Customer Reviews

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Small Worlds
A symphony of a book!
"So instead, we build each other a small world, our solos swelling, rising like a chorus, forward as he goes back, back as he goes forward, our hands to ou... READ MORE
Victoria at Aviemore
Small Worlds
Another gorgeous book by Nelson
Another gorgeous book by Nelson, following on from Nelson's debut Open Water this does not disappoint. Small World centres around music, family, history ... READ MORE
Sydney K
Small Worlds
A beautiful story
Thank you to NetGalley for the arc of this wonderful book. What a beautiful and powerful story by Caleb. This story is full of immaculate poetic writing a... READ MORE
Amelia Coulson
Small Worlds
A music and dance filled follow up to Open Water
Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel “Open Water” was a deserved winner of the last ever Costa Award for Debut Novels in 2021. It was both a love story albei... READ MORE
Graham Fulcher
Small Worlds
Poetic and beautiful read
First of everyone must read this book, it is such a beautiful poetic read. I loved it!! Kudos to Caleb Azumah Nelson for this lovely book. It was such a na... READ MORE
Small Worlds
Beautiful and poetic; a great follow up to Open Water
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin UK for this advance reader copy. I read Open Water when it came out and enjoyed the real world storytelling and descr... READ MORE
Shanice Venture
Small Worlds
Poignant and heartfelt
This is an incredibly moving and beautiful novel that explores that period of life when you cross the line from traditional school education and embark upo... READ MORE
Stephen - the bookworm
Small Worlds
A must read
First of everyone must read this book, it is such a beautiful poetic read. I loved it!! Kudos to Caleb Azumah Nelson for this lovely book. It was such a na... READ MORE
Small Worlds
Beautifully crafted and lyrical prose
As we follow Stephen’s life across three summers we delve into familial relationships, love interests and go on a journey of self discovery with a young ma... READ MORE
Jessica Mitchell
Small Worlds
A beautiful, moving novel
"I'm trying to tell you what it means to be in the eye of a moshpit: a small, beautiful world in the midst of chaos, free, amongst flailing limbs and half ... READ MORE
Michelle McVeigh
Small Worlds
A beautiful and heart-wrenching book; a read that is at once tender and powerful.
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson opens at the beginning of a hot summer that will change everything for our narrator, Stephen, and his friends; school i... READ MORE
Roisin Russell
Small Worlds
Dance and music - growing up in London
I have little in common with the narrator of Small Worlds - Stephen is a young black man living in London, while I’m an older white woman - yet his story s... READ MORE
Andreanne Cochrane
Small Worlds
Wonderful book
The best thing about this book is its lush prose and musicality. What a privilege it was to read it and follow Stephen growth and emotional journey, to fee... READ MORE
Sara Machado
Small Worlds
I am once again under the spell of the incredible writing of Caleb Azumah Nelson.
I am once again under the spell of the incredible writing of Caleb Azumah Nelson. The words are so accurate, it resonates a lot with me. Her way of talking... READ MORE
Small Worlds
Really enjoyed the themes of feeling lonely and lost in young adulthood, family and connections. Lovely writting style.
Aleksandra Popov