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 ...
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 neighbourhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labour colonies. And the members of the labour 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 labour 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.
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Publishers Weekly, 2013-12-09 Lee's (The Surrendered) latest novel is set in a dystopic future world in which the cities of Detroit and Baltimore are now facilities, called B-Mor and D-Troy by their residents, all of whom are of Asian descent. These city dwellers spend their lives in happy serfdom, working day jobs to produce goods (mostly food) for the richer Charter communities. But when Fan, an unassuming 16-year-old with a talent for diving, abandons B-Mor in search of her vanished boyfriend, Reg, the fabric of orderly B-Mor begins to fray. Lee tells the story of Fan's quest, from the facilities to the open counties (lawless places where Fan's unwavering purpose and childlike demeanor are the only things that protect her), and, finally, to a Charter called Seneca. The narrator is the collective voice of B-Mor, who often interrupts Fan's journey with digressions on the nature of legends and the impossibility of any story surviving, unaltered, the whims of the teller. It's an engrossing read, and Lee's skills as a world builder of the finest order are evident in every chapter. Late in the second half of the book, Fan is temporarily imprisoned with a group of kept girls. All of their eyes are altered to resemble those of anime characters, and they're trapped in a white dormitory, where they magic-marker their histories onto the wall. Lee's descriptions of their images-which start as truth and then careen into a fantastic blend of imagination and interpretation-are beautiful metaphors for the way stories take on lives of their own. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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