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ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019

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’s 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.
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About the author

Rivers Solomon is the author of An Unkindness of Ghosts, and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award finalist for Best New Writer. They graduated from Stanford University with a degree in comparative studies in race and ethnicity and hold an MFA in fiction writing from the Michener Center for Writers. Though originally from the United States, they currently live in Cambridge, England, with their family. Find them on Twitter @CyborgYndroid.

Daveed Diggs is an actor, singer, producer, writer, and rapper. He is the vocalist of the experimental hip hop group Clipping. Diggs originated the role of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the 2015 musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda which he won a Grammy and Tony for. He also cowrote, produced, and stars in the film Blindspotting. Find him on Twitter @DaveedDiggs.

William Hutson is a composer, known for Room 237 (2012), The Mayor (2017), and Ten Minutes Is Two Hours (2013). He is part of the rap group Clipping. Find him on Twitter @Clppng.

Jonathan Snipes is a composer and sound designer for film and theater living in Los Angeles. He occasionally teaches sound design in the theater department at UCLA, and is a member of the rap group Clipping. Find him at Jonat8han.com.
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3.9
9 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 5, 2019
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781534439887
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / African American / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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A Best Book of 2017: NPR, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Bustle, Bookish, Barnes & Noble, Chicago Public Library, Book Scrolling.

CLMP Firecracker Award Winner

A Stonewall Book Award Honor Book

Finalist for the 2018 Locus Award, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the Lambda Literary Award.

Nominated for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Novel

"What Solomon achieves with this debut--the sharpness, the depth, the precision--puts me in mind of a syringe full of stars. I want to say about this book, its only imperfection is that it ended. But that might give the wrong impression: that it is a happy book, a book that makes a body feel good. It is not a happy book. I love it like I love food, I love it for what it did to me, I love it for having made me feel stronger and more sure in a nightmare world, but it is not a happy book. It is an antidote to poison. It is inoculation against pervasive, enduring disease. Like a vaccine, it is briefly painful, leaves a lingering soreness, but armors you from the inside out."
--NPR

"In Rivers Solomon's highly imaginative sci-fi novel An Unkindness of Ghosts, eccentric Aster was born into slavery on--and is trying to escape from--a brutally segregated spaceship that for generations has been trying to escort the last humans from a dying planet to a Promised Land. When she discovers clues about the circumstances of her mother's death, she also comes closer to disturbing truths about the ship and its journey."
--BuzzFeed

"What Solomon does brilliantly in this novel is in the creation of a society in which dichotomies loom over certain aspects of the narrative, and are eschewed by others...Hearkening back to the past in visions of the future can hold a number of narrative purposes...The past offers us countless nightmares and cautionary tales; so too, I'm afraid, can the array of possible futures lurking up ahead."
--Tor.com

"This book is a clear descendent of Octavia Butler's Black science fiction legacy, but grounded in more explicit queerness and neuroatypicality."
--AutoStraddle

"Ghosts are 'the past refusing to be forgot,' says a character in this assured science-fiction debut. That's certainly the case aboard the HSS Matilda, a massive spacecraft arranged along the cruel racial divides of pre-Civil War America."
--Toronto Star

Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world.

Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot--if she's willing to sow the seeds of civil war.

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