Over the weekend, I started reading On Such a Full Sea, the latest novel from acclaimed author Chang-rae Lee. I've had this book sitting on my desk for weeks, and I'm slapping myself for not cracking it open sooner.
On Such a Full Sea is a marvelous, transcendent work. If you've ever wanted to experience the author of Native Speaker, A Gesture Life and The Surrendered taking on science fiction, this is sort of it -- a story of immigrant workers set in the dystopian future of America -- and it's awesome.
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.Just letting you know. I have more to read. See you on the flip side.
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.