“Solomon is perfectly suited to expand the concept of a civilization of merfolk whose origins were born in the violence of pregnant African women sent to the depths from the vessels of white slave traders. The Deep focuses on Yetu, whose role as historian is to be individually burdened with six centuries of memories of all the wajinru (merfolk), and the consequences when she abdicates her responsibility. With shades of Hans Christian Andersen, Ursula Le Guin, and Lois Lowry, plus inimitable explorations of difficult social interrelationships, Solomon’s short tome is, indeed, a deep read.”
— Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA
Winter 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List
“A beautiful story built upon stories. Readers are taken in by this strange and familiar world of merfolk before taken even deeper with questions on the self, history, and community. Do individuals stand alone through the test of time? Or are we made stronger through the interwoven histories of our people? And is the memory of trauma needed for the body and soul to heal? Yetu takes us on a journey through the past and into our present, creating a story with more impact than pages.”
— Shannyn Stevens, The Mitten Word Bookshop, Marshall, MI
ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group clipping
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.
Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.
About the Author
Rivers Solomon is the author of An Unkindness of Ghosts, and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award finalist for Best New Writer. They graduated from Stanford University with a degree in comparative studies in race and ethnicity and hold an MFA in fiction writing from the Michener Center for Writers. Though originally from the United States, they currently live in Cambridge, England, with their family. Find them on Twitter @CyborgYndroid.
Daveed Diggs is an actor, singer, producer, writer, and rapper. He is the vocalist of the experimental hip hop group Clipping. Diggs originated the role of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the 2015 musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda which he won a Grammy and Tony for. He also cowrote, produced, and stars in the film Blindspotting. Find him on Twitter @DaveedDiggs.
William Hutson is a composer, known for Room 237 (2012), The Mayor (2017), and Ten Minutes Is Two Hours (2013). He is part of the rap group Clipping. Find him on Twitter @Clppng.
Jonathan Snipes is a composer and sound designer for film and theater living in Los Angeles. He occasionally teaches sound design in the theater department at UCLA, and is a member of the rap group Clipping. Find him at Jonat8han.com.
Solomon’s beautiful novella weaves together a moving and evocative narrative that imagines a future created from the scars of the past. Highly recommended for those interested in sf or fantasy that draws upon the legacies of colonialism and racism to imagine different, exciting types of futures. — Booklist, Starred Review
With shades of Hans Christian Andersen, Ursula Le Guin, and Lois Lowry, plus inimitable explorations of difficult social interrelationships, Solomon's short tome is, indeed, a deep read. — Indie Bound