book review

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press

Pages: 176

Genre: Fantasy, Queer, Novella

Rating: 4/5

This unique, well written, novella is a story about generational trauma and our relationships with our family and our communities. Specifically, the trauma referenced in this story is of slaves, particularly pregnant women, who were thrown off of slave ships. We follow our narrator, Yetu, who is the historian of her mermaid race, as she struggles with having to be the sole bearer of all the memories of her people. It finally becomes too much for Yetu to bear alone, so during the ceremonial time after she has shared the memories with her people, she decides to leave them behind and goes to the surface so she can discover herself free from the shackles of her role.

I was instantly captivated by the imagery that Solomon wielded to make this Afrofuturistic world come to life so vividly. I connected with Yetu instantly and my heart broke for how much she was struggling under the weight of the memories. I can’t even imagine how suffocating that would be to hold even just the memories of my family let alone our society. I am not well versed enough (or at all) to give this book the proper review that it deserves because it is not my culture that this book is seeped in nor I am educated enough in the real life tragedies that this book is based on. Instead I will link a great article here that does a great job reviewing and explaining The Deep and its origins. I do think that the ending was a bit abrupt but that is almost to be expected with a novella. I do like the way the entire story wrapped together and how thought provoking it was.

The song that Solomon used as the basis of this book is equally amazing in a different way. Here is the link to listen to the song by .clipping, which if you read the article listed above, you will also find out more about its origins and how it is an homage to an even earlier song. It is incredible to sit back and think about how all these artists used their different mediums to bring the ideas in this novella forward.

“What is belonging?, we ask. She says, “Where loneliness ends.”



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