'A magnificent beast of a novel' Roxane Gay
'It blew me away' Emma Donoghue
'Large in scope and heart' Patrick deWitt
'Unforgettable' Nathan Hill
'A blast' Karen Russell
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 after a failed marriage, Livy works refinishing boats - but the promise of a shot at financial security brings the two together to claim what's theirs.
Except: instead of money, their father gives them information - a name - that reveals a stunning family secret. In the face of their new reality, the sisters each set out on journeys that will test their faith in each other, 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, this is an epic tale told with boundless verve, linguistic vitality and undeniable tenderness - a book that fearlessly reimagines what the 'great American novel' can do.
A deeply moving picaresque... Veselka is a remarkable writer, able to break through the surfaces of her narrative to reveal the animal chaos underneath'
Los Angeles Times
'This is a novel that feels like hitchhiking: the route is unpredictable but fated and exciting, with an air of treachery... Thrilling'
'Vivid, realistic and devastating . . . Veselka is a talented writer, with sensual imagery and an unflinching ability to stick with troubled and troublesome characters'
VANESSA VESELKA is the author of the novel, ZAZEN, which won the PEN/Robert Bingham prize for fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Tin House and her nonfiction in GQ, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, the Atavist and was included in 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.
A magnificent beast of a novel. Utterly engrossing. Original. One of the rare novels that understands the realities of American poverty. Epic.Roxane GayThe Great Offshore Grounds
delivers on the promise Vanessa Veselka made with her excellent debut, Zazen
. Large in scope and hear
t, Veselka skillfully illustrates human behaviors of every shade and iteration. She's a specialist, a keen interpreter of our demented society
, and an enviable storyteller. I've been waiting long years for this novel. It was worth the wait
.Patrick deWitt, author of THE SISTERS BROTHERSThe Great Offshore Grounds blew me away
. The tangled journeys of three siblings in the hardest of times pursuing freedom and love through a broken world will both move and dazzle readers. Wry, epic, glorious
.Emma Donoghue, author of ROOM
Vanessa Veselka is an expert portraitist of the forgotten and left behind
, people struggling to make ends meet, broke and underemployed, people of deep humanity and shallow finances trying to find their place in dysfunctional America. The Great Offshore Grounds
is an unforgettable journey
through a country full of malice and greed and beauty and grace. A brilliant and fearless
book.Nathan Hill, author of THE NIXThe 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 SWAMPLANDIA!A deeply moving picaresque
... Veselka traces these arcs with empathy and an earthy sense of humor but also with a ruthless eye. She is a remarkable writer, able to break through the surfaces of her narrative to reveal the animal chaos underneath
.Los Angeles TimesThis is a novel that feels like hitchhiking: the route is unpredictable but fated and exciting, with an air of treachery
. If you relate to the idea of desperate people doing desperate things for reasons only partly clear to themselves, you will find it thrilling.Vulture
Animating... For all its sweep and ambition, The Great Offshore Grounds
mercifully remains driven by its characters' personal travails
... Portland, Ore.-based Veselka has an intuitive sense as to when she should break away from the big picture and home in on the little person. . . In Veselka's telling the story is in fact about [vulnerable Americans] - and, with the necessary adjustments, countless other underprivileged men and women caught up in a system that has little use for their kind."Boston GlobeVivid
. . . The portrayal of the choices one must make when living paycheck to paycheck in late capitalist America is realistic and devastating
. . . The deeply moving and nuanced mother narrative is a rewarding journey in itself . . . Veselka is a talented writer, with sensual imagery and an unflinching ability to stick with troubled and troublesome characters
.Seattle TimesThe talented Veselka is such a crafty, confident writer
you don't immediately grasp the absurdity of the journeys her characters are on. This was true in 2011's bleakly satirical Zazen.
And it's true in Veselka's marvelous
new novel, in which two sisters hit the road in search of the woman who gave birth to one of them. In other words, either Livy or Cheyenne is adopted and they don't know which. Things only get stranger with each turn of the page, but it's cool because you're in good hands.Philadelphia Enquirer