For a short-but-sweeping read, I recommend listening to the audiobook performed by Daveed Diggs. Yetu takes on the role of historian for her people, descendants of pregnant African women who were thrown overboard built a new society underwater. Holding everyone's painful memories is too much for Yetu, so she flees to the world above water where she learns more about the past and the future of her people. Originally inspired by a song from rap group Clipping that aired on This American Life We Are In The Future,” this imaginative fantasy novella presents a powerful allegory.
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.