On Such a Full Sea (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This January, I started my reading year off right by picking up Chang-Rae Lee’s magnificent new novel, ON SUCH A FULL SEA. There was so much buzz surrounding this book that a casual in-store book club developed around it; four of us now have read the novel and loved it! The novel takes place a few hundred years in the future and tells the story of Fan, a young girl who bravely leaves Baltimore, which has been renamed B-MOR). The reasons for her departure are slowly revealed as the book follows Fan on countless trials, all of it related to us in Lee’s sparkling prose. Like a lot of dystopian fiction, this story reflects the challenges and concerns of our current lives by exploring the future. However, Lee doesn’t fall into any of the traps or cliches of the genre; each twist of the plot comes unexpectedly and feels organic. ON SUCH A FULL SEA is unlike anything Lee has written before, yet it retains his stunning mastery of language and gift for storytelling. If the rest of the year is filled with books as good as this one, a great year in reading it will be!

— From On Such a Full Sea (Chang-Rae Lee)


"Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading, and On Such a Full Sea provides all that and more. . . . With On Such a Full Sea, Chang-rae Lee] has found a new way to explore his old preoccupation: the oft-told tale of the desperate, betraying, lonely human heart."--Andrew Sean Greer, The New York Times Book Review
"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.

About the Author

Chang-rae Lee is the author of Native Speaker, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction; A Gesture Life; Aloft; and The Surrendered, winner of the Dayton Peace Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Selected by The New Yorker as one of the "20 Writers for the 21st Century," Chang-rae Lee is Professor professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and the a Shinhan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Yonsei University.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781594486104
ISBN-10: 1594486107
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Pages: 368
Language: English