Customer Review

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd, Endearing, December 12, 2013
This review is from: On Such a Full Sea: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What an odd, beautiful story this is. Dystopian, told partially from a first-person POV, but the reader never learns exactly who that first person is, only that s/he is a resident of B-Mor, not as good as living in one of the Charters in this new world, but also not as bad as being a Counties person.

B-Mor is structured, very structured, but can residents who disappear make a difference? Can B-Mor really change? And what happens if it does? Of course, there is a journey, a quest, a searching.

So much of the book is about the narrator's speculation about what Fan, a tank diver, is doing, how she is feeling.

“If she possessed a genius – and a growing number of us think she did – it was a capacity for understanding and trusting the improvisational nature of her will.”

The writing is lyrical but does challenge the reader on occasion. I couldn't skip through blithely knowing this person did that and this person did this other thing.

“It's our common character on display, which is why we invest so much of ourselves – often totally beyond reason – in particular figures and performers, both fictive and of flesh. And when that display is unsettling or notorious, we can collectively wring our hands and wail and then try to assuage the disquiet in our hearts by ore coolly interrogating its antecedents, the conditions and causes of its expression, and debate how we might curb a future recurrence, none of this cynically posed but subtly servicing the final hopeful notion that This Is Not We.”

The end surprised me. Actually, quite a bit of this book surprised me. And I enjoyed those surprises. Chang-Rae Lee is a remarkable author.

Because I was given an advance reader's copy of the book for review, the quotes may change in the published edition.
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