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The Deep

Title: The Deep

Authors: Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

Genre: Black science-fiction

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book set mostly or entirely outdoors.

The concept of this book is just so cool. Rivers Solomon heard the song “The Deep” by the band clipping. and was so moved that they wrote this novella in response. You can find the lyrics and a clip (pun intended) of the song here. I wanted to listen to the song before I read the book so I could be in the same frame of mind that Solomon was. And the song was really familiar. I’m a big Hamilton fan, so I knew Diggs had a rap group, but I’ve never listened to any of the songs. When I read the Afterword, I realized that clipping. wrote the song for an episode of This American Life. That’s when the light bulb went off. I heard that episode. It’s an excellent one about Afrofuturism. Here’s a link.

From Goodreads: 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.

I’m not a fantasy/sci-fi person at all. It’s my least favorite genre. Well, romance is way worse. But I read An Unkindness of Ghosts last year, and I have Solomon’s newest, Sorrowland, from Netgalley to read, so I wanted to read The Deep as well. The concept is kind of like The Giver where one person holds the past memories of the community, but that’s where the similarities end. Yetu is trying to find who she is deep down and ends up making connections where she least expects it. This book was great. I love that it’s inspired by a song, because music and lyrics can truly be powerful. This book was impactful and will stick with me for awhile.