Book Title: The Deep
Author: Rivers Solomon; With Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
Release Date: 11/05/20
Star Rating: Brilliant, atmospheric.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are. – Goodreads
I first heard of this story when I was listening to an episode of This American Life. They featured a song by the group clipping. Voiced by Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) it was a short Hugo Nominated song about a race of mer-people descended of the African enslaved women murdered during the Middle Passage.
This short book is an extension of that story. One where Yetu, is responsible for the memories of her people. It is an absorbing, atmospheric book about the terrible weight of memory and shared trauma. Yetu has to learn how to handle the responsibility of being her people receptacle for pain, and the answer lies in accepting the help of her community.
This is a wonderful little volume. Afrofuturism is an astounding genre that, in this instance, blends science fiction, fantasy and Black culture. Please listen to the song first if you’re going to read this book, it is kind of a prequel to the story and it is fantastic. I’m including it below. I can’t recommend this story enough. It is remarkable.
Song for this book: The Deep by clipping.