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The Deep

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  17,844 ratings  ·  3,877 reviews
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’ rap group Clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Judah WHAT?! I've been crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that someone would take that song and develop it into something MORE for several years now…moreWHAT?! I've been crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that someone would take that song and develop it into something MORE for several years now! (I'd hoped for a comic, really, just for the visuals, but totally down for a book!)(less)
AK You're not wrong. Both are in ways for the greater good, but in The Giver, I'd say it was more to control them and keep the people complacent in that …moreYou're not wrong. Both are in ways for the greater good, but in The Giver, I'd say it was more to control them and keep the people complacent in that dystopian world, and in The Deep, it's more to protect the people from the shared trauma of their pasts and whether or not they should be "protected" from it(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  17,844 ratings  ·  3,877 reviews

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Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
this book was so small but had so much to take in!! i gotta think about it for a second for a final rating, but i will tell u that feelings are positive & y’all need to give this a try!
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'll read any book that Rivers Solomon puts out because their ideas are always unique, creative, and poignant. While An Unkindness of Ghosts follows a more traditional narrative, The Deep reads more as an atmospheric and conceptual piece, which makes it harder for me to rate since I prefer the former. Considering Solomon's intentions with writing this novella, and how much I appreciate the allegory for intergenerational trauma in a mermaid fairytale, I'll round it up to 4 stars. I wish the story ...more
Miranda Reads
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
“What is belonging?” we ask.
She says, “Where loneliness ends.”
Yetu is the only one out of her mermaid tribe that knows their history.

Decades ago, pregnant African slave women were thrown into the ocean and their children are what formed Yetu's people.
The deep will be our sibling, our parent, our relief from endless solitude. Down here, we are wrapped up. Down here, we can pretend the dark is the black embrace of another.
The tragedy, so real and raw, even years later was deemed too much
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Giveaway win!

5 Stars isn't enough!

Water dwelling creatures who are the descendants of African slave women.

How could I not read this book.

The Deep is filled with flowery poetic language that I normally hate. Flowery language often comes off sounding pretentious and it usually leaves me rolling my eyes. But that flowery type of language fits The Deep just perfectly.

The Deep is a modern day take on African folklore. The same folklore that was brought to America on slave ships and passed down to
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
**3.5-stars rounded up**

What the heck did I just read?

This novella is so unique. There's an overriding feeling that comes from reading it that I cannot describe.

When I first finished The Deep, I was blown away, but also didn't really fully understand it. Newsflash, I still don't.

As far as content, I didn't retain much; just the feeling. It's too bad because it is such a different reading experience and I believe, from what I understand, the creation of this novella was quite unique as well.

Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novella explores the themes of generational trauma, memory, belonging, and history using the folktale of the babies of African slaves thrown overboard turning into mermaids. This small book packs a big thematic punch.
Make sure that you listen to the song The Deep by clipping. as well as the group Drexciya.

How does a book under 200 pages stump me in terms of writing a review. I'm sitting here, at this moment, in my chair attempting to figure out how to summarize/express my feelings about this book. I think that it's probably going to take more than just a written review, but I'm going to try.

I liked to preface my thoughts by saying that if you only read this book as a fantastical "mermaid" tale and don't di
rtc <3

Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch

Buddy read with Lea & Lara! ❤
Iben Frederiksen
I have mixed feeling about The Deep by Rivers Solomon.

First, I LOVED the premise of a merpeople originating from pregnant african slaves being thrown overboard - it's what really drew me into reading to book.

The story however - not much happens and the pacing is very slow. Now this is not necessarily a problem to me, but coupled with a very vague worldbuilding and a very blank slated main character, whose perspective the story is told from, I ended up spending 6 days reading this 176 page novel.
Charlie Jane Anders
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book is amazing. As a fan of Clipping and their Hugo-nominated song that this book is based on, I was already excited for this one---plus it's written by Rivers Solomon, author of An Unkindness of Ghosts. But wow, this book is intense. I won't give away any spoilers except to say that Yetu, the hero, is a unique character who is forced to make some tough choices to find herself, and ends up making a really beautiful and unexpected friendship as a result. I'm going to be thinking and dr ...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
update: dec 3, 2019
I'm really sad about it, but I'm setting this aside at the 40% mark. It's such an incredible premise, but I'm not enjoying the actual writing much at all and I'm hoping it's just the mood that I'm in. I'll give it another try later and hopefully it'll work better for me.


I love mer-people, I love clipping., and I love every single speck of the premise for this. I need this SO BAD

(Also, if you haven't already, check out the song that inspired Rivers Solomon to write this)
may ➹
- follows Yetu, who is a Historian and has to keep all of the history—intergenerational trauma and pain, essentially—of the wajinru, who are descendents of pregnant African slaves thrown overboard
- takes a bit to get into (I first listened to the audiobook then switched to ebook) but worth it to keep pushing through
- while it is about Yetu finding and discovering what her own identity is, separate from the trauma of her ancestors, it is also about the wajinru as a community. tackles what it mean
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the idea? Not so much the rest. Heartbreaking, for sure. But, somehow I was unable to finish these stories. I sent it back to the library after a few days.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Of the nearly 12.5 million enslaved Africans who were transported to the Americas in the 16th - 19th centuries, it has been estimated that 1.8 million died en route, their bodies, some still alive, tossed overboard into the ocean.

The musical duo Drexciya began a modern myth about mysterious and beautiful ocean creatures who were descended from those Africans who had been thrown overboard during the African holocaust. Forced to endure horrific treatment, starvation, and suffocating quarters, many
Althea | themoonwholistens ☾
↣ Highly recommend if you are looking for a relatively short urban fantasy about mermaids with underlying themes of trauma, belonging, climate change, gender identity, ++ it's packed... while seamlessly weaving it into an endearing plot. Especially one that you get through quickly with a slightly darker tone.

content warnings// (view spoiler)

I didn't like my review so I deleted it and I f
✨    jamieson   ✨
“Forgetting was not the same as healing.”

really impactful story about collective memory and trauma and trying to unravel the responsibility of the individual to the collective. I really like speculative fiction and this has such a good premise (the children of pregnant women thrown overboard during the transatlantic slave trade became mermaids) I loved the authors note about how this book came around and the collaboration across multiple creative platforms, really interesting.

Yetu was a sym
“What is belonging?” we ask.
She says, “Where loneliness ends.”

It’s a captivating book, atmospheric and sensual and at times a bit overwhelming. I did not like it for quite a few pages, but then somehow, a third in or so, realized that it had me entranced despite the nagging mixed feelings and reservations and the fact that it took me three days (!) to finish this slim novella.

The premise is beautiful and sad — but yet strongly life-affirming. Wajinru are the descendants of the pregnant women
Dec 24, 2019 marked it as to-read
so short it makes me want to finish it in an hour
Tyler J Gray
This story hit me hard from the very beginning. I was so angry at the Wajinru for putting the burden of their entire history all on Yetu's shoulders. All alone, in so much pain, pain they should have been sharing together rather than dumping it all on Yetu and it was killing her, literally. As the story progressed though I understood why they did it. I felt so much for Yetu. At times I related to certain things from being disabled, neuro-divergent and a rather sensitive INFP. I just wanted to hu ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Sep 18, 2018 marked it as tbz
Shelves: author-love
releases: June 2019
BITCH okay I was waiting I was watching I was desperate for something more by Rivers Solomon, whose work I have vowed to keep up with after loving their first book so much, and now it's HERE and I am READY
Apr 16, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars -- I'm so conflicted here, because I really enjoyed the characters, writing, & thematic content of this one. It's a book I certainly recommend, as it reminded me of a fascinating take on a "The Giver" type story. The problem I had is that the disparate parts didn't quite come together for me into a fully realized book. I think probably it should have been either shorter or longer, but there's something about the various components that aren't wholly cohesive. That said, I enjoyed my ti ...more
♛ may

this was incredible, the story, the emotion, the setting, the narration and the storytelling was absolutely masterful.

wow, i really enjoyed this.

4.5 stars
/2.5 stars/

This has been another round of Joey dashing into a book too fast and missing the ‘lgbt’ label. 🤦‍♂️
But yeah. That’s always fuuuun.

I didn’t hate it. I promise, I really didn’t. I’m not gonna do a typical review here, I’m just gonna share some thoughts and then do content.

1) There is no freaking way I’m trying to spell the names cuz i listened to the audio.

2) There were weird undertones of like... evolution/new age/ humanism, which was just weird.

3) I loved the writing. ABSOLUTELY GORGE
3.5 stars

This was a really interesting/upsetting/disturbing/wonderful premise - all the pregnant women that were held in slavery on ships and tossed overboard to drown, their babies were kept alive by the ocean by turning them into a new race of mermaid-like people. This new species then develops a culture that focuses on letting go of their past. In fact, they have a designated person, the historian, who is responsible for holding their memories/history, and that person is the protagonist of th
Mary Robinette Kowal
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Deep by Rivers Solomon is a short fresh take on mermaids -- and I hesitate to say "mermaids" because the wajinru are very much their own thing. It's filled with beautiful language and an interesting exploration of the relationship between memory and self and community. ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I really do not think the audiobook is the way to go with this one, which is the format I read this in. I was excited for the premise about mermaids who are created from the African slaves that were thrown overboard during the slave trade. The premise was so unique and interesting. There was one character who held all of the memories of her race and discussed how much of a burden that job was.

However, the story itself was really hard to get into and the plot jumped around and was hard for me to
I read/listened to The Deep twice in two months, and it was definitely worth returning to, especially since the audiobook was narrated by Daveed Diggs. I appreciated it as an eye-read, but it was even better for listening to. The writing is perfect for being read aloud, which is a style I always enjoy, and it suited the story extremely well. The plot is fairly simple, so the story is primarily driven by its emotional arc, which grapples with generational trauma, memory, communal obligation, and ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The Deep by Rivers Solomon is in conversation with a song by William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes and performed by Daveed Diggs, based on the underwater mythology of the 90s Detroit electro band Drexciya. (You can hear the song on Episode 623 of This American Life.)

Mercreatures descended from enslaved women murdered and thrown overboard when they were pregnant live in communities on the ocean floor, with the ability to connect telepathically. Yetu is the historian and bears the weight of the colle
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
“What is belonging?” we ask. She says, “Where loneliness ends.”

representation: all Black characters (own voices), non-binary character (own voices), f/f relationship, m/m relationship.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was super powerful and interesting, but I wasn't a huge fan of the writing. I definitely recommend reading the afterword as you get much more of a background on how this story came to be and it's very interesting.

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SciFi and Fantasy...: "The Deep" by Rivers Solomon (BR) 47 157 Apr 08, 2021 02:56AM  
Play Book Tag: The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, 4 stars 10 17 Mar 12, 2021 11:29AM  
The Bookworm Soci...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Deep by Rivers Solomon - Starting February 26th 2021 14 28 Mar 02, 2021 10:35AM  
Into the Forest: The Deep spoilers allowed 17 34 Sep 20, 2020 02:07AM  
Into the Forest: The Deep spoiler free 15 23 Jul 26, 2020 11:21AM  
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Rivers Solomon writes about life in the margins, where they are much at home. They live on a small isle off the coast of the Eurasian continent.

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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“What is belonging?” we ask. She says, “Where loneliness ends.” 51 likes
“Forgetting was not the same as healing.” 34 likes
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