If there were still a conversation about the Great American Novel, The Great Offshore Grounds, with its sprawling scope, wry humor, Zen koane-like virtuosity, and massive, brilliant heart would be a top contender. What first drew me in as a road trip novel surprised me again and again with its depiction of the modern American family struggling to survive against the current of capitalism. While its scope is large in trying to capture humanity's search for meaning in a broken system, you will fall in love with these uncompromising characters while sharing their raw moments of vulnerability and read, read, and read with exhilaration.
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER OF THE OREGON BOOK AWARDS' KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION A wildly original, cross-country novel that subverts a long tradition of family narratives and casts new light on the mythologies--national, individual, and collective--that drive and define us. On the day of their estranged father's wedding, half sisters Cheyenne and Livy set off to claim their inheritance. It's been years since the two have seen each other. Cheyenne is newly back in Seattle, crashing with Livy after a failed marriage and a series of personal and professional dead ends. Livy works refinishing boats, her resentment against her freeloading sister growing as she tamps down dreams of fishing off the coast of Alaska. But the promise of a shot at financial security brings the two together to claim what's theirs. Except, instead of money, what their father gives them is information--a name--which forces them to come to grips with a long-held family secret. In the face of their new reality, the sisters and their adopted brother each set out on journeys that will test their faith in one another, as well as their definitions of freedom. Moving from Seattle's underground to the docks of the Far North, from the hideaways of the southern swamps to the storied reaches of the Great Offshore Grounds, Vanessa Veselka spins a tale with boundless verve, linguistic vitality, and undeniable tenderness.
About the Author
Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel Zazen, which won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her short stories have appeared in Tin House and ZYZZYVA, and her nonfiction in GQ, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, The Atavist Magazine, and was included in The Best American Essays and the anthology Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism. She has been, at various times, a teenage runaway, a sex worker, a union organizer, an independent record label owner, a train hopper, a waitress, and a mother. She lives in Portland, Oregon.