Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 book 35

Chang-Rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea
Considering that I am, in general, a fan of literary authors playing with works generally considered "genre," this literary dystopia should have been right up my alley. But it didn't really work that well for me. The first-person-plural narration is fine, but the narrative voice itself isn't particularly interesting. I liked that the story was being told kind of like an urban legend (I guess?) but I didn't like how stilted it felt. And protagonist Fan (who flees dystopian B-Mor [yes, it's Baltimore, complete with row houses] in search of her missing boyfriend) isn't very proactive--she rarely makes any decisions, just sort of goes along with everyone else she encounters. The plot happens to her, but she doesn't do much to affect it, and it just gets a little ridiculous/overly coincidental at a certain point. It's not interesting to read about a character supposedly on a quest who is actually just sort of floating along (with a couple of notable exceptions). I actually did like the way this ended, but was left with a fleeting sort of sense of "why?" about the whole story. I'm still not sure what the author was trying to accomplish here. B.

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