On Such a Full Sea
By Chang-Rae Lee
(Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594486104, 368pp.)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
List Price: $27.95*
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I've never been a fan of grand hyperbolic declarations in book reviews, but faced with "On Such a Full Sea," I have no choice but to ask: Who is a greater novelist than Chang-rae Lee today? Porochista Khakpour, "The Los Angeles Times"
From the beloved award-winning author of "Native Speaker "and "The Surrendered," a highly provocative, deeply affecting story of one woman's legendary quest in a shocking, future America.
"On Such a Full Sea "takes Chang-rae Lee's elegance of prose, his masterly storytelling, and his long-standing interests in identity, culture, work, and love, and lifts them to a new plane. Stepping from the realistic and historical territories of his previous work, Lee brings us into a world created from scratch. Against a vividly imagined future America, Lee tells a stunning, surprising, and riveting story that will change the way readers think about the world they live in.
In a future, long-declining America, society is strictly stratified by class. Long-abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labor colonies. And the members of the labor class descendants of those brought over en masse many years earlier from environmentally ruined provincial China find purpose and identity in their work to provide pristine produce and fish to the small, elite, satellite charter villages that ring the labor settlement.
In this world lives Fan, a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore), when the man she loves mysteriously disappears. Fan's journey to find him takes her out of the safety of B-Mor, through the anarchic Open Counties, where crime is rampant with scant governmental oversight, and to a faraway charter village, in a quest that will soon become legend to those she left behind.
Lee is acclaimed for his realistic and historical fiction, but he's made a foray into the futuristic sci-fi genre with a new novel called On Such a Full Sea. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan says sometimes it's better for writers to stick closer to familiar shores. More at NPR.org
Novelist Chang Rae Lee is known for his sober depictions of things you can probably imagine â?? like war and spies, family and immigration. So it might surprise you that his newest novel, On Such a Full Sea, is a dystopia that begins in a place called B-mor, a town that â?? a very long time ago â?? was known as Baltimore. More at NPR.org
Chang-Rae Lee is an award-winning author best known for his novels Native Speaker and The Surrendered. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Lee about his latest book On Such a Full Sea, a futuristic dystopian novel set in a declining America that's been repopulated by Chinese immigrant workers. More at NPR.org