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The Deep
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The Deep
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Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel's Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song "The Deep" from Daveed...
Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel's Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song "The Deep" from Daveed...
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  • Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel's Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, 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 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.

    The Deep is "a tour de force reorientation of the storytelling gaze...a superb, multilayered work," (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and a vividly original and uniquely affecting story inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping.
 

Awards-

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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 22, 2019
    This extraordinary short novel is at least the third creative iteration of a premise built on the documented drowning of pregnant African women by white male slave traders. Imagining that the infants survived as a community of mer-people was the contribution of the techno group Drexciya. In turn, the experimental rap group Clipping (Diggs, Hutson, and Snipes) was inspired to collaboratively develop “The Deep,” a song about conflict between people of the sea and people of the land. Now Solomon (An Unkindness of Ghosts) steps forward with a prose version that is by turns meditative, didactic, and rawly angry. The focus is Yetu, a historian for an undersea community that calls itself wajinru and cultivates collective forgetfulness of its agonizing past, backstopped by the one member who bears the burden of holding the entire community’s memories. It is too much for Yetu, and amid the excruciating annual ritual of sharing out and then taking back the rememberings, she flees her people. Her burden of memory is lifted, but her burden of responsibility has only shifted, as her choice to free herself from her role has devastating consequences. Solomon interrogates the devastations of slavery without ever showing a white perspective, in a tour de force reorientation of the storytelling gaze. This superb, multilayered work will speak to any empathetic reader, and be best appreciated by those steeped in its cultural and artistic context.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2019

    Inspired by the Hugo Award-nominated song "The Deep" from Daveed Diggs's rap group, Clipping, this novella is set in an underwater universe inhabited by the water-breathing descendants of pregnant African women tossed overboard by slavers. All but the historian Yetu suppress their horrible memories, and the burdened Yetu finally rises to the surface to find new possibilities for her people. Diggs and other Clipping members are joined by Solomon, a John W. Campbell Award finalist for An Unkindness of Ghosts, to craft this work. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2019
    Solomon's second book (after An Unkindness of Ghosts, 2017) is inspired by a song, also called "The Deep," by the hip-hop group Clipping (featuring Hamilton's Daveed Diggs). The book expands on the world of the aquatic beings descended from women thrown off slaver ships and left to drown during the Atlantic slave trade. Building off of the song's refrain "y'all remember" in particular, Solomon imagines a society of beings without individual memories known as wajinru, whose communal memory is held in one selected historian in the form of electrical signals. Yetu, the current historian, finds the continual remembering of her people's history, with all of its pain and tragedy, to be a crippling and devouring burden, so during the annual gathering in which she releases the accumulated history into the wajinru as a whole, she flees to the surface. Interspersing the collective memories of the wajinru with Yetu's encounters above water, 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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