Listen to the news every day, catch the headlines in the paper, and you realize it isn't too much of a stretch of the imagination to picture it happening: a complete unraveling of American life as we know it. The dystopia that Chang-rae Lee richly imagines in his striking new novel, On Such a Full Sea, is segregated into three distinct tiers. The super-rich live in communities called the Charters where every need and want is taken care of. The best privilege of all: Charters are the only ones who have access to unlimited health care. On the other end of the spectrum are the open counties, where a complete disintegration of government networks means practically nothing can be taken for granted. Straddling these extremes are cities like B-Mor, whose inhabitants are mid-level toilers living in gated communities, providing food for the Charters and going about their days with a kind of deep ...
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