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On Such A Full Sea

Lee, Chang-rae (Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
On Such A Full Sea
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"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Authors: Lee, Chang-rae
Title: On such a full sea
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA),, 2014
Characteristics: 352 pages ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Chang-rae Lee
Summary: "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"-- Provided by publisher.
ISBN: 9781594486104
1594486107
Branch Call Number: FICTION LEE 2014
Subject Headings: Regression (Civilization) Fiction Social stratification Fiction Chinese Americans Fiction
Genre/Form: Dystopias
Topical Term: Regression (Civilization)
Social stratification
Chinese Americans
LCCN: 2013036600
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When the boy she loves disappears, Fan, a member of the labor class in a future, long-declining America, leaves the safety of her home on a journey through the anarchic Open Counties, in a quest that will soon become legend to those she left behind.

When the boy she loves disappears, Fan, a member of the labor class in a future, long-declining America, leaves the safety of her home on a journey through the anarchic Open Counties, in a quest that will soon become legend to those she left behind.


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Apr 19, 2014
  • kninchicago rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The world building in this dystopian fiction is fantastic. Our main character is Fan, a teenage girl who lives in B-More (formerly Baltimore). In this America, the rust belt cities are occupied by “New China” residents who moved to North America after China became too environmentally unsafe to live in. The other segments of this country are the Charter communities, which are the upper class, and the Counties, which resemble a backwoods, every man for himself environment. Fan leaves B-More to search for her boyfriend who has gone missing. It’s such a great, subtle commentary on late stage capitalism–you have to really process what the characters think, say, and do to really get the full picture of this strange new world. It’s a terrific story, I can’t think of anything else like it, and it comes highly recommended by me.

Mar 03, 2014
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you’re a reader of dystopian literary fiction (think Margaret Atwood’s most recent book, *MaddAddam*), then I have something to keep you happily occupied while spring gets its act together. Acclaimed author Chang-Rae Lee (Pulitzer Prize finalist for *The Surrendered*) is back with a beautifully rendered, deeply creepy work of speculative fiction. *On Such a Full Sea* follows the travails of a young woman named Fan, raised since birth in an incredibly strict factory town. B-Mor was founded by Chinese immigrants fleeing their homeland’s environmental destruction. B-Mor was established on Baltimore’s remnants, following an invasion that drove out the city’s 21st century inhabitants (subsequently called “the natives”). This appears to have taken place after the United States suffered a social and environmental crisis of its own. On an otherwise nondescript day, Fan’s boyfriend Reg disappears without a trace. Rumours speculate he’s been kidnapped by a pharmacorp after his genes were found to be completely resistant to cancer, now rampant in the world’s population. As with disappearances in other totalitarian societies, Reg’s merits little official comment, and his family and friends must suffer his loss without much acknowledgement. Fan, however, breaks free of B-Mor into the wild surrounding Counties, where no fixed government reigns and there’s no protection from toxins. The narrator tracks Fan’s compulsive, haphazard movements through the Counties searching for Reg. In fact, the narrator is one of this novel’s greatest curiosities. He or she is plainly a resident of B-Mor who is decreasingly interested in appearing to have consumed the proverbial kool-aid. So, then, how does the narrator know what’s happening to Fan? Why trust the narrator? It’s never resolved, and this adds to the weird, panopticon-like tension experienced by the reader. Part action novel, part social study, On Such a Full Sea is a richly realized cautionary tale offering no easy answers. It is very highly recommended to any readers of literary fiction who don’t mind an occasional tour into murky dystopia.

Feb 10, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Yeah, I agree with the other comment in terms of it being a little bland. It's become something of a minor trend for "serious"/acclaimed literary writers to turn to genre fiction, especially dystopian stories: "The Road," "Never Let Me Go," Colson Whitehead's "Zone One." As someone who enjoys sci-fi, I resent it somewhat because I feel a/there's something a little condescending about these authors doing a/ genre fiction without really having an experience with it and b/I think they get better reviews than the authors who are really doing sci-fi. Chang-rae Lee's novel is set in a future America and involves closed off communities and lots of fish or something. It's a rather half-realized vision of the future that is neither convincing nor compelling. J.G. Ballard was doing this kind of speculative fiction years earlier and doing it in a far more intelligent and provocative manner. Eh. The title comes from Shakespeare.

Jan 25, 2014
  • msmigels rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the narrator felt intrusive and it bothered me; my mind kept questioning how a B-Mor narrator could be omniscient and know what was going on with Fan and the other characters in the counties and Charters.
Overall, the novel was kind of bland. Fan was more of an anime-like character than a real flesh-and-blood heroine; and instead of creating a fully imagined fictional realm, Mr. Lee places Fan in a futuristic world that seems overly familiar and unconvincing.

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Mar 03, 2014
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you’re a reader of dystopian literary fiction (think Margaret Atwood’s most recent book, *MaddAddam*), then I have something to keep you happily occupied while spring gets its act together. Acclaimed author Chang-Rae Lee (Pulitzer Prize finalist for *The Surrendered*) is back with a beautifully rendered, deeply creepy work of speculative fiction. *On Such a Full Sea* follows the travails of a young woman named Fan, raised since birth in an incredibly strict factory town. B-Mor was founded by Chinese immigrants fleeing their homeland’s environmental destruction. B-Mor was established on Baltimore’s remnants, following an invasion that drove out the city’s 21st century inhabitants (subsequently called “the natives”). This appears to have taken place after the United States suffered a social and environmental crisis of its own. On an otherwise nondescript day, Fan’s boyfriend Reg disappears without a trace. Rumours speculate he’s been kidnapped by a pharmacorp after his genes were found to be completely resistant to cancer, now rampant in the world’s population. As with disappearances in other totalitarian societies, Reg’s merits little official comment, and his family and friends must suffer his loss without much acknowledgement. Fan, however, breaks free of B-Mor into the wild surrounding Counties, where no fixed government reigns and there’s no protection from toxins. The narrator tracks Fan’s compulsive, haphazard movements through the Counties searching for Reg. In fact, the narrator is one of this novel’s greatest curiosities. He or she is plainly a resident of B-Mor who is decreasingly interested in appearing to have consumed the proverbial kool-aid. So, then, how does the narrator know what’s happening to Fan? Why trust the narrator? It’s never resolved, and this adds to the weird, panopticon-like tension experienced by the reader. Part action novel, part social study, *On Such a Full Sea* is a richly realized cautionary tale offering no easy answers. It is very highly recommended to any readers of literary fiction who don’t mind an occasional tour into murky dystopia.

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app07 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/16 16:30