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On Such a Full Sea: A Novel Audiobook, by Chang-rae Lee Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Chang-rae Lee Narrator: B. D. Wong Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9780698136052
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“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 Review

“I'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 Times

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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Should every talented novelist have a go at dystopia? Probably not, but we can thanks the gods of chaos that the trendy genre fell into the hands of Chang-rae Lee…Lee’s novel brilliantly satisfies the genre’s prime directive, which is to reveal the awful present by means of the terrible future.”


  • “A provocative fictional portrait of a ravaged America…[Lee] boldly steps outside his comfort zone in the haunting On Such a Full Sea, a dystopian tale that recalls the work of Cormac McCarthy and Kazuo Ishiguro.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Narrator B. D. Wong knows just how to read [the audiobook], his understated words perfectly complementing Lee’s delicately muscular prose.”

    Providence Journal (audio review)

  • “[A] riveting story…Lee’s brilliantly rendered dystopia resembles our America.


  • “Lee’s descriptions of their images—which start as truth and then careen into a fantastic blend of imagination and interpretation—are beautiful metaphors for the way stories take on lives of their own.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “An excellent pairing of a writer and narrator, this is a volume you’ll want to tell other listeners about.”


  • “B. D. Wong’s narration is perfect.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “The title alone is an astonishing feat of encapsulated genius from the inimitable Lee…Brilliant…A heart-thumping adventure.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Lee, always entrancing and delving, takes a truly radical leap in this wrenching yet poetic, philosophical, even mystical speculative odyssey…Lee brilliantly and wisely dramatizes class stratification and social disintegration, deprivation and sustenance both physical and psychic, reflecting, with rare acuity, on the evolution of legends and how, in the most hellish of circumstances, we rediscover the solace of art. Electrifying.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A harrowing and fully imagined vision of dystopian America from Lee…The potency and strangeness of [his]characters never diminish the sense that Lee has written an allegory of our current predicaments, and the narration, written in the collective voice of B-Mor, gives the novel the tone of a timeless and cautionary fable. Welcome and surprising proof that there’s plenty of life in end-of-the-world storytelling.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Chilling…Lee’s prose is sumptuous and at times discursive, and for that reason, this is a novel that demands the reader’s full engagement. The rewards for that commitment are considerable; On Such a Full Sea is an elegiac and often unsettling glimpse of a future that could be closer than we’d like to think.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, January 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Author

Chang-rae Lee is the author of Native Speaker, a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award winner for first fiction, A Gesture Life, and Aloft. Selected by the New Yorker as one of the twenty best writers under forty, he teaches writing at Princeton.

About the Narrator

B.D. Wong was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He made his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly. He is the only actor to be honored with the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theater World Award for the same performance. He starred in the television series All-American Girl, and has made guest appearances on Sesame Street and The X-Files.