ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
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 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 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fact: Pregnant enslaved Africans were often thrown overboard while crossing the Atlantic. This horrific historical fact inspired clipping.—a rap group fronted by Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame—to write their song “The Deep,” which in turn inspired this novella. It tells the story of the descendants of those murdered women and of the underwater community’s sole historian, who flees to the surface to escape the weight of the atrocities he carries. Diggs himself reads the audiobook, and his charismatic voice and rap-trained delivery highlight the book’s poetry, intensity, and emotion. The Deep takes on the brutal legacy of the African diaspora and testifies to the importance of history and remembrance.
Just 😳 wow
Jaw dropping, one of my new favorites
This book is amazing. Knowing it is written by a Black Neurodivergent Non Binary person makes it even better. Just magical, the way that it is read, the voices, the emotion. I am sure this is now one of my all time favorites. I’m grateful to have gotten lost in this magical world for a few hours, that holds so many truths and relatable themes. Should be required reading.