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On Such a Full Sea
On Such a Full Sea: A Novel | 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 ReviewI'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 TimesFrom the beloved award-winning author of Native Speaker and The Surrendered, a highly provocative, deeply affecting story of one womans legendary quest in a shocking, future America.On Such a Full Sea takes Chang-rae Lees 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 classdescendants of those brought over en masse many years earlier from environmentally ruined provincial Chinafind 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. Fans 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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ImperfectCJ
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this novel. The first-person plural perspective gives the sense of a people trying to deserve their heroes. The thing that strikes me most is the tension between what people believe they ought to do and what they choose to do to benefit themselves. As friends and enemies change places around her, Fan is able to maintain her integrity while also looking out for herself, inspiring shame and sometimes action in those around her.

ImperfectCJ And I just realized that I've begun referring to dystopian novels as "near-future" novels. I'm not sure when I started this, but I'm pretty sure it's been since March 2020, and probably since January 6, 2021. 2mo
tokorowilliamwallace I'm not much for dystopic novels or media, but I own this because of Chinese author and it's setting in some kind of version of Baltimore. I learned that I do like near-future sci-fi, just more with exploration of technological and civilization advance/progress. I am finding more and more drawn to the idea/truth that dystopia---cycles of history---is much more realistic, which I'm upset about. 1mo
47 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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honeydew_reader
Pickpick

Lee's steady, unflinching, soothing narration of this otherwise typical post-apocalyptic absorbs the reader in its fascinatingly calm yet violent world. A great read especially for the present where complacency, protest, disease, class division shape our persons.

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TK-421
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“Isn‘t it better that we send them off once and for all beneath the glow of #carnival lights, with the taste of treats on our tongues, rather than invite the acrid tang of doubt, and undue longing, and the heart-stab of a freshly sundered bond?” #QuotsySep21

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mollyrotondo
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I thought this dystopian/apocalyptic book was excellent! It is so different from other dystopian novels I‘ve read. It‘s definitely more on the literary sci-fi side of the genre. The story is told like a legend or folk tale but many many years in the future. And I absolutely love the ending of this book. Definitely didn‘t see it coming. This was my July #doublespin No. 15 book for #bookspinbingo

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2y
Graywacke Two cool selections by bookspin! 2y
mollyrotondo @Graywacke this had been sitting on my shelf for about 5 years. So happy I finally read it because it was really excellent. 2y
Graywacke @mollyrotondo So cool to get to it. !! I have a lot of those - dusk accumulating promising tbr books that I‘ve almost forgotten about. Makes me tempted by bookspin. 2y
mollyrotondo @Graywacke you should definitely join in the bookspin fun next month! It‘s actually really exciting to find out which numbers are going to be picked for books that you already own and could have read at any time haha. I‘ve really cleaned up my shelves in just a few months. 2y
35 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Kat_H
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Mehso-so

I started off being really intrigued by the plot and world the author had created, but by the end I felt a little flat. I just kept expecting something more. It was strange how you were always kept at an arm's length from the protagonist... I didn't really mind it at first, the author was trying to create a myth-like sense of her, but there needed to be something more in her actions to fill that void. She was too passive in many ways.

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alisonrose
Bailedbailed

Yeah ... no. I can‘t with this book. The third-person plural narration is just weird and seems to intentionally keep the reader at arm‘s length. I don‘t like how it conveniently jumps from a lofty overview to being with Fan. I don‘t care about the characters because the style renders them totally flat. And the basic world here is unexplained and, I‘m sorry, derivative as hell. Going on the donate pile! DNF 😞

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alisonrose

A tale, like the universe, they tell us, expands ceaselessly each time you examine it, until there‘s finally no telling exactly where it begins, or ends, or where it places you now.

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alisonrose
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I‘ve read two of his books, and this sounds quite different from both of them. I loved The Surrendered and liked Native Speaker ... wonder where this will fall! #nowreading

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DrexEdit
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Pickpick

Written in the unusual first person plural and set in a believable possible future USA where resources are scarce & society is divided into strict classes. The story of protagonist Fan, a legend in the making, is full of hope & betrayal. Not a book I'd recommend for people who like tidy endings. Lee's minute observations on life make the mundane significant & beautiful. I loved this book!

Cinfhen Nice review😊 5y
DrexEdit @Cinfhen thanks! 😊 5y
31 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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nomadreader
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My brain is awake, but my body doesn't want to leave bed, so I'm starting this one on my Kindle. It's been on my TBR too long.

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Carleneishere
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Last look at Alaska as we pull out of Ketchikan. Bye forever, cold grey rainforest! Next stop: Prince Rupert, British Columbia. #ak2al

ReadingEnvy Ooh I met this author a few years ago, and hearing talk about some of his choices helped me appreciate this novel more. 5y
Carleneishere @ReadingEnvy it's so unusual! I like it so far, but the author made some choices I've never seen before. It takes some concentration! 5y
Bostonmomx2 @Marilyn1970 hey, check out her profile, you 2 have a couple things in common 😍😍 5y
20 likes3 comments
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ohrachael
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Pickpick

This was so good! I've always loved dystopia, but recently they've often felt either completely ridiculous or way too realistic and current. This one strikes a nice balance--it feels possible without remotely feeling like we're already there. I loved Fan's hope, the questionable nature of the narration, the steady and calm pace, never knowing whom to trust...it all just worked together. I definitely look forward to reading more by this author!

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marzbars
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marzbars
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marzbars
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Next up!

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silentrequiem
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#weneeddiversebooks but also diverse books written in #ownvoices. Here are the dead tree books I have with me written by #diverseauthors
#seasonsreadings2016

Lindy I like the #ownvoices hashtag. Followed it just now and found more great pots and titles. 😊 6y
Reviewsbylola Great selection. 6y
silentrequiem @Lindy I was so glad when that movement started a few years back. I got introduced to some amazing authors. 6y
silentrequiem @Reviewsbylola Now we'll see how many of these I get around to reading! 😅 6y
24 likes4 comments
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EliseBlackwell
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"For sometimes you can't help but crave some ruin in what you love."

Ilana OMG. Are you just hanging out with Chang-Rae? I'm such a huge fan and he was so nice when I met him - took me seriously when I said I'm a writer which I find many authors tend to try hard not to roll their eyes to... 6y
EliseBlackwell It's a photo from last year when he was hear for a literary series I organize. He was so nice! He even bought Manhattans for all our MFA students and hug out with them. 6y
4 likes1 stack add3 comments
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alisahar
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Bailedbailed

I rarely do this but I think I might bail on this one. I loved the description of it-- a dystopian future where climate change has reshaped America-- but I can't get invested in the characters and I find the writing style a little too heightened and florid. Should I stick with it? I always find it hard to get into both utopian and dystopian literature. I bailed on Herland too. 😔

mdhughes72 I hung in there until the end but it didn't seem to go anywhere. Loved the premise and the atmosphere. Truly a strange and creepy read. 5y
13 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Just one of my #bookstacks for today's Day 13 #augustphotochallenge. This is in my home office so it becomes part storage, part books.

68 likes2 stack adds