This book is not for the faint of heart. Yetu, the main character, isn't human, and probably human labels can't be applied to a being with a different kind of mind, but I definitely read her as neuro-atypical, with a lot of sensory sensitivity and chronic pain as well as a personality that is fragile, delicate, and damaged by the expectations put on her by her society. Reading The Deep is a very embodied experience, and for me it was a strangely familiar body (she types with hands that ache so familiarly it's hard to remember as it's happening).
There's a lot of manipulation of memory that happens over the course of the story, which to me felt like an offshoot of the pain. Perhaps psychic pain and physical pain have this in common: the brain refuses to remember them directly, and so when they consume your life you end up remembering events only tangentially, obliquely, through clouds of storytelling and shrouds of metaphor. Reading it made me feel raw, like Yetu feels most of the time, and sad. Pain makes me sad.
The story itself seemed to happen in some other space, secondarily to my processing of Yetu's embodiment. She was so intense as a character, as the kind of character I see myself in, in a way I'm not used to, that I couldn't focus on anything else. And the storytelling allows that: a lot of what happens is internal, or in memory, or is wondering about what might be happening elsewhere that isn't seen. But I liked that.
I found this book profoundly moving.