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.
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.
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.
Praise for The Deep
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