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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2020 Vanessa Veselka (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Great Offshore Grounds reminded me of what a great novel can do - Veselka's seafaring epic has the forward momentum of a grand adventure and the spiraling depth of a new myth. All the pleasure of eighteenth century storytelling renewed for our newborn millennium. I love this textured, tonally complex wonder of a book, a quest for Melville's 'unimaginable sublimity' that never shies away from the messy flux of the body, or the oceanic scope of our shared global history. It's also a blast to read - darkly hilarious, astral, cerebral, suspenseful, warm-blooded, divine." (Karen Russell, author of Orange World)

“Astonishing depth and scope ... Veselka blends fascinating details of seamanship, cab driving, and boot camp with intimate, spot-on descriptions of contemporary American poverty ... This gritty and unsentimental work is compassionate, funny, and deeply human.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Energetic ... points of view shift kaleidoscopically, passages of history and politics are woven into the questlike narratives of the characters. The result is a fiery and occasionally luminous chaos that feels true to the experience of those for whom each day is lived at the edges of mainstream society.” (Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Great Offshore Grounds

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Epic Family (blood and chosen) Saga

if you enjoy metaphysics, metaphors, and musings on what it means to be family this book will satisfy. 3 very different women take 3 very different journeys

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Did not hold my interest

I had to return it. For starters, the narrator's voice made it impossible for me to keep engaged: very soft and monotone. I kept catching myself thinking about what to cook for dinner or what bills are due. The story didn't make it much easier: the characters are difficult and not easily likeable, yet their flaws are not bad enough to keep them interesting. I listened to it for a few hours, but I just couldn't care what happens to any of them. The writing itself is good. Overall, it's just OK. Maybe this would be better read, rather than listened to. Update: read the rest of the book. I actually really liked it, even though still didn't like any of the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Rambling waste of time

Convoluted family drama with no particular point reached at any time. Can’t believe I listened to the awful narration of this story through its entirety.