Content warning Minor discussion of the end
The Deep is a short novel that engages some really heavy concepts, like the tension between individual survival and cultural/communal survival and the cyclical nature of intergenerational trauma and healing. The novel makes it clear that there are no obvious lines between either of these struggles-- that remaining open to the multitude experiences of life around you is what holds possibility for growth-- and maybe even magic. I especially enjoyed Yetu's perspective as the historian of her people. She experienced a certain hypersensitivity to external stimulus that is reminiscent to the hyper-empathy present in The Parable Series by Octavia Butler. It wasn't clear to me whether her condition was due to her role as historian or if she just had that sensitive predilection, but reading how even a conversation with her amaba caused sharp pain on her skin made her decision to leave all the more understandable. The burden of carrying all of her people's rememberings in her mind sounded like torture, yet the novel illustrates the deep importance of keeping that history accessible. Yetu's role as historian especially intrigued me since I've recently had the responsibility of family archiving on my mind. The novel ends with no clear path forward for how to cope with the traumas of the past, other than to hold each other lightly and with care as they do so. Overall, loved the author's descriptions of nature, from the smells of the briny ocean to the striking depictions of deep sea life. Would love to revisit and talk about it with a friend.