Excellent Novella with A Lot to Say

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wannabae3 Avatar


I love The Deep. On the surface, I love that it is a story about Black mermaids. But deeper than that, it is a story of Yetu wanting to be free, wanting to be herself despite all the limitations placed on her by her people. Yetu is the Historian. Her job is to hold onto all of the history, memories, of all the wajinru, past and present, and their ancestors so that they would not have to. That is until the Remembrance, the day where she temporarily give them back to everyone. To Yetu, being the Historian is painful. Relieving the memories both good and bad, especially those related to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, is emotionally and physically overwhelming. With each year, she loses more and more of herself to these memories, often days and months at a time, and nearly gets herself killed.
So sure that the Remembrance will kill her, Yetu escapes to surface. Free from the distractions of the ocean and the duty of her people. It is there, and what resonated with me, is that she able to affirm who she is as a person. Yetu can be cold and direct, but that is because she’s super sensitive and constantly building up walls to block the outside world so that it doesn’t overwhelm her. She’s also lonely because she’s the only wanjiru burdened by the weight of history. On the surface, Yetu finds a kinship in Oori, the last of her people, and they bond over their loneliness and complicated relationship with the past.
All in all, The Deep is a short and fascinating book on how one struggles with not letting a history that is painful but crucial to your identity bury you, and it's about how to be independent while serving your people.