The Deep

The Deep

Book - 2019
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"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 [...] 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." -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, [2019]
ISBN: 9781534439863
Branch Call Number: SOLOMON R
Characteristics: 200 pages ; 22 cm


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SPL_Robyn Mar 03, 2020

Blind Date with a Book 2020 comment by borrower:
"This was a surprisingly good story."

Feb 21, 2020

“Forgetting was not the same thing as healing”
The Wajinru, a sea-dwelling community, are descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard. This slim novella goes on to explore memories, survival, healing, and the burden of generational trauma. It’s a powerful metaphor, and reads almost like a dream. I loved everything about this book. I started it on audio, which helped with the world-building.

Feb 06, 2020

The longer the book went on the further it went from what I was expecting. I don't recommend the audiobook, Diggs can't handle doing so many voices and it also comes across as he's reading to an audience of children. I'm not certain the exact intended audience for this, I suppose it's okay for YA/tweens (the book states facts about violence but actual graphic imagery is somewhat limited), but I found his tone grating and probably would've enjoyed the written version more.

Jan 27, 2020

The Deep is the powerful and emotional story of Yetu, the historian of the Wajinru people. The Wajinru are a mermaid-like people living deep in the sea, the descendants of pregnant African slaves who were thrown overboard from slave ships. Their babies could breathe underwater and were raised by whales. The story is set hundreds of years after the time of slavery. The Wajinru appoint one historian to hold and experience all the history and memories of their people, so that they do not have to live burdened by these memories. This person is Yetu. The trauma of experiencing centuries of memories, both wonderful and traumatic, is destroying Yetu emotionally and physically. In a ceremony, she gives the memories to her people and escapes to find herself near land. She experiences autonomy and freedom from the memories for the first time in many years. She meets humans who live near the water and has a relationship with one of them. She must eventually return to the Wajinru and her people must find a new way to keep their memories. This book is beautifully written and haunting. The world building is imaginative and skillfully done. Highly recommended.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 23, 2020

A fascinating parable/novella about memory & generational trauma that imagines those descended from Africans thrown from slave ships as mermaid-like creatures.

Nov 18, 2019

A thoughtful, beautifully written story about memory, trauma, and renewal, with deep, rich world-building.

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Oct 01, 2019

This is a beautiful novella with a strong allegorical underpinning. I’m really looking forward to finding friends who have read it so we can delve deep into the implications on history, trauma, and self. I would strongly recommend this novella to those who are interested in exploring themes of generational trauma and racial justice from a new perspective.

The writing is beautiful and thoughtful, at times almost ethereal. I find in places that the narrative skips perspectives in a way that interrupts the flow. In reflection, I think this interruption makes sense though. It disorients the reader in the same way that the character feels disoriented by the Remembering, not knowing where it came from or whose it is. Overall it is powerfully impactful and thought-provoking.


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