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On Such a Full Sea: A Novel by Chang-rae Lee
Review by Ernest Lilley
Riverhead Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1594486107
Date: 07 January 2014 List Price $27.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Wikipedia Entry / Show Article /

Literary light Chang-rae Lee has created a not-so-distant future, and sent Fan, a young Chinese girl, who is essentially a colonist in what was the failed city of Baltimore, out of the ordered but faltering city into the ruins of America, peopled by a mix of hardscrabble holdouts and walled suburbs of the very wealthy. Though Fan's goal is to find her boyfriend who disappeared from B-mor, her mission for the author is to provide a probe into his dystopic projection of contemporary society. Told by a narrator still in B-mor who recounts the viral impact of the quest on the city, the tale flips back and forth between the two settings.

From official release/information:

Product Description: 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.

(Source: Riverhead)

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