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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

©2019 Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Daveed Diggs brings his unique voice to Rivers Solomon's collaborative novella, The Deep, inspired by a song of the same name, written by Diggs's band, Clipping. Diggs explores his multilayered world through the voice of Yetu, the historian of an ocean-dwelling people called the Wajinru, descended from pregnant African women thrown overboard during the transatlantic slave trade." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about The Deep

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

why was this read by a dude?

I know who Daveed Diggs is, but this is an extremely female centric book. I'm pretty sure it would have failed a reverse Bechtel test, it really should have had female voice narrating it. They should have gotten someone like Robin Miles to narrate it. I actually think it diminished the story to have a male voice.

56 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Haunting and emotional

Some here are saying that they don't like that Daveed Diggs narrated this book since it's about, features, and is adjacent to a lot of women- but that doesn't bother me. In fact, I love Daveed's voice, and the way he reads is so soothing it lulls you, as if you are listening to a song. Which is no coincidence, as this book is based on a song by clipping. and sung by Daveed.

There are images in this story that are painful and poignant and will stay with you. There are so many applications to the lessons learned by the characters in this book, the allegories appropriate and timely.

I rarely 5-star anything, but this book and performance deserved it.

13 people found this helpful

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Mesmerizing!

Loved the story and the vivid world it imagines. Daveed Diggs’ narration was perfect. The layered story from so many creative minds each with their own unique perspective demonstrates the beauty of collaboration. Rivers Solomon’s beautiful words made my heart cry and sing at the same time. tRemembering is what will save humanity.

11 people found this helpful

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Original, Fantastic, Historical, Relevant

The basis for this novella is horrifying, and painful, and unspeakable, but totally true: pregnant enslaved African women were thrown overboard from ships crossing the Atlantic. In this story, Solomon imagines the children born of these women survived, creating a new species of deep-water dweller.

This truth alone, that human beings were so devalued that they were tossed overboard, is horrific. As a species, we humans should be sickened by it. Now, imagine your very existence is borne of that inhumanity. Imagine your very existence a reminder of that abominable act — and your forebears protecting you from that history by burdening a single sensitive soul with all of the history.

The story unfolds from the history of these water-dwellers and from the individual burdened with that unimaginable weight. The characters are foreign yet identifiable, unlike and identical to readers. In the afterward, clipping describes the development (and retelling) of the tale much like a game of "Telephone."

I wish I could join this oral history tradition by contributing to the retelling through review, but I remain moved and amazed by this wholly original story and telling. I can't describe it, but I encourage you to open yourself to experience it. Whether you embrace or reject it, you will be changed by it.

21 people found this helpful

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Not what I was hoping for

1 Star because of mermaids and the 2nd star because of how they came to be, that was inspired! But the actual story just didn’t engage me. Maybe it was the narrator, who seemed flat. I’m so disappointed to have spent my money on this.

6 people found this helpful

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Compelling story, enrapturing narration

I can't say enough good things about this book. Daveed is captivating and I immediately want to listen and read it again to connect more dots. I don't always listen to the afterward of a book, but I was hanging onto every word and now have a whole new list of music to listen to so I can continue delving into this story. I love, love, love this book

6 people found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea

I’m not into this book. I’ve gotten 2 hours in and I still don’t know what’s going on. It’s hard for me to follow.

4 people found this helpful

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Mesmerizing

I loved this book! I NEVER listen to fiction or any novel. So as my first pick I am loving this specific genre. I need more. A series, a movie, something. I look forward to more from this author. The narration made me feel like I was a part of the story. ❤️❤️❤️

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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nope.

I think it could be a wonderful story. but the young man is just reading words. not telling a story. he sounds like a kid at school trying to get through reading an essay before the class. so after starting it four times I couldn't really get into it.

2 people found this helpful

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I had high hopes

Sad to say this book started off great and then left me frustrated and confused. The story became very disjointed and though I think the concept of stolen African who jumped or were pushed over board in the middle passage being the genesis of the Wa-jen-ru. The story seemed to turn left and never corrected. Highly do not recommend this book. Sorry.

2 people found this helpful