The Deep

Saga: S. & S. Nov. 2019. 181p. ISBN 9781534439863. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781534439887. FANTASY
Yetu is the historian for the wajinru, an undersea population of merpeople. Their collective memory of their origins as pregnant African women thrown overboard by white slavers is held by Yetu alone. The wajinru exist in forgetfulness, as it has been decided that the agony of their past is too much to bear. The historian carries the burden until the Remembering, a yearly ritual that lets the historian share the memories to the population, then take them all back. Yetu struggles under the weight of her duty, and flees her home in hopes of escaping. But as she leaves behind her agony and meets the people of the land that her ancestors left long ago, her burden shifts to those who aren’t ready to accept it. Yetu is tasked with finding a way to reconnect the past to all before her people’s future is lost. This vivid, devastating work is in its third incarnation: it started with the inspired mythology created by techno-electro group Drexciya, morphed into a song by rap group Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes), and then was turned to prose by Solomon (An Unkindness of Ghosts).
VERDICT This slim story packs a huge punch. Beautiful and stark in its pain, this emotional journey is one that all readers should take, in order to remember the atrocities of slavery. [See “Fall Fireworks,” LJ 8/19.]
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