The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
Published by Gallery / Saga Press on November 5th, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQIA
“‘What is belonging?’ we ask. She says, ‘Where loneliness ends.'”
Daveed Diggs? A story revolving around mermaids? UH, YES. GIVE IT TO ME, PLEASE.
In The Deep, Yetu holds the memories of 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. She remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her.
So she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities. She discovers a world her people left behind a long time ago. She learns more than she expected about her own past and the future of her people. If they are to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity, and own who they really are.
I loved the beautiful nature of this story. It’s a modern day take on African folklore that I had no previous knowledge about. But now I want to read everything I can about it!
But for me, I felt kind of underwhelmed when I was reading it.
I understand what the authors were trying to accomplish, but it just shouldn’t have been a novella.
The story could’ve been better served as a novel. I would’ve given this five bubble teas if there had been more exploration and depth to these characters and this magical underwater world.
The pacing was weirdly slow for such a short story. I kept expecting more and never getting it. I wanted to learn more backstory to these characters, I wanted to be introduced to new characters, I wanted to get more time with Yetu. I just kept wanting and was left wanting.
But at times, this was incredibly moving. Especially if you read the afterward and the reason why Solomon wrote this.
And props to this mythical world acknowledging LGBTQIA relationships! Yes!
Due to the vague worldbuilding and a very blank slated main character, I have to say it was an average read. It took me forever to finish this tiny novella.
But the groundwork is all there. It just needs more room to grow and breathe. It could be a fantastic novel, and if it’s ever turned into one, I’m going to read it.
If you want a different take on mermaids, then you should definitely give The Deep a chance!