Cover Image: The Great Offshore Grounds

The Great Offshore Grounds

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Member Reviews

Fast paced book and I really enjoyed it. Good story line and I think people are gonna love it. I would definitely read again and recommend
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I am not entirely sure how to review this novel. The quality of the writing was top-notch and it started off in a way that truly gripped me and gave me difficulty putting in down for the first hundred pages or so. Then it devolved into a game of chicken between the author and reader. They kept giving glimmers of hope to the characters, only to cruelly snatch it away and dared the reader to keep reading and subjecting themselves to this. If a reader truly loved the characters, they would continue because they had to know the outcomes. If a reader did not care, they would continue because they would feel nothing. I was in that horrible middle ground where the non-stop plagues afflicting the protagonists bothered me, but I did not love them enough to continue. As I have given up on a book, I had to force myself to slog through the last half. It did improve, but not enough to recommend it to others.
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Unfortunately I couldn't get through this one. I know that the reviews were great and that it tackles some important issues and has emotional aspects in it but I couldn't do it. Thank you for the copy of this book
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Although the lives of these intriguing sisters initially reads as aimless,  what they're learning as they travel wide open lands and oceans is anything but purposeless.  The settings were fascinating.  The arc of the characters was unpredictable.  They personify what Cheyenne, one of the sisters realizes midway through the novel.:  "There's no shame in freedom."
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I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. The writing was beautiful but I didn't find that the characters were very compelling or realistic.
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DNF. The writing was strong, the characters were vivid, but I just could not get myself into a headspace for a literary family drama. Look forward to returning to this at a later date.
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I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I think it was the writing. Everything seemed very melodramatic. Honestly, I believe it was the writing style that I didn't enjoy. The characters seemed like interesting people but the descriptions were over the top and got in the way of my reading experience.
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Setting this one aside for now at about 40%...I loved the narrative threads for Book One, but then I found myself completely disinterested as the characters went their separate ways around at the beginning of Book Two (about 22% in). I did like the writing style and I am intrigued about how the characters come back together (if at all), but I need some time away from this one and thought it best to give my thoughts as they stand now, rather than potentially months from now!
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A family drama that unites sisters and a brother in their search for the truth. Well told it will tug at your heart strings. Definitely worth checking out. Happy reading!
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The Great Offshore Grounds is a unique and fascinating story.  Family is defined and redefined as siblings struggle with who they are and what they really want and need.  They make discoveries from coast to coast and take the reader on quite a fascinating journey.
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Veselka has given us an atmospheric, wild ride that is both exciting and devastating. Two sisters attend their estranged father's wedding, hoping for an inheritance, and unearthing a family secret instead. Each character - the two sisters, their adopted brother, the mother who raised them - goes through an odyssey of sorts. Veselka captures the desperation of poverty, the tendency to try to go it alone, and the unexpected connections to strangers that can ultimately lift us up.
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This is the story of two sisters who set out to find out who their real mother is.  Their father, as part of their inheritance, gives them clues.  They then set out to find her.  One sister doesn’t care, the other cares a lot.  Interesting twists along the way make this an interesting read.
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This book did not go where I expected it to go, based on the opening chapter!  Instead of a family comedy of wealth or a send-up of the tech industry, it was a story of physical and emotional journeys.  It's a really deftly drawn portrait of a family - and an exploration of what makes a family, what makes a mother, what is love.
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For some books, the blurb is so spot on, it's hard to craft a review that does anywhere near as good a job. "Vanessa Veselka spins a tale with boundless verve, linguistic vitality, and undeniable tenderness" (from the publisher). And yes, that is it! That is this book.

This was clearly a work of literary fiction. There was beautiful prose, an unconventional family unit, and lingering questions at the end of the story. 

Reflecting upon this novel, it struck me as a series of misfortunes; self-inflicted, natural and societal; overcome by sheer will or dealt with in a way that may be seen as the lesser of two evils. The characters are confronted with poverty, tornados, theft, limited health care, rape, storms and any number of other things. Through persistence, the kindness of strangers and sheer doggedness, the characters in this book manage to make it to the other side.

One of the draws for me to this book was the idea of casting "new light on the mythologies--national, individual, and collective...". This story has many personal philosophies different from my own. I re-read several passages trying to better understand a group of characters who hold fast to beliefs I do not personally hold. As I read, and later reflected, I recognized some prejudices in myself that it was somewhat refreshing to confront. One of the great joys of reading! We may share a country and national history, but the way we approach everyday life can be so different.

This story will stay with me for a long time. I would not be at all surprised if I chose to read this one again (and again and again)! 

I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley and my copy says it is an uncorrected proof. As a relatively new (or at least not very experienced) reviewer of ARCs, this was my first one. I am not completely sure what the final book will look like, but my copy did not have a lot of obvious errors and I was not stymied by plot holes or character issues. I do understand that some quotes/lines/parts may change between my reading and publication. The publication date on this one appears to be the end of August.
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I don't know why I was gifted this novel - and it truly felt like a gift; I didn't have to request it - but I'm so very grateful I did. Seattle drew me in, sisters intrigued me, and one of them being gay made it a must-read.

This is an epic book, both in length and scale. Nature spills out of the pages. A tornado, a storm at sea, dangerously low temperatures, the scalding sun, and amid all of it are four characters, a family trying their best and failing, being failed, and trying to find the next right path. The characters all have their moments of being unlikeable, but by the end I was desperate for them all to triumph, even if a little. 

This book is immense by many definitions, not the least of which being the space it will take up in your mind when it's finished. It's big, it's beautiful, and I'm grateful I had a chance to read it early.
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Aspects of this were interesting to me, but ultimately I didn’t jive with the writing style. Also a bit obscure for our readership.
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Cheyenne and Livy are off to their father's wedding. They are half sisters--same dad, different moms, raised by one mother with no idea of who the other mother might be. Since he has never supported them in any way, they are hopeful that there might be some money involved which would be awesome since they are--call it what you will--financially insecure, struggling, or just plain poor. He has specially requested that they attend his wedding which has them hoping; but at the very least, they will get something to eat besides Ramen and have brought along storage containers to make the most of the buffet.

But their father does not have any money for them. He has a name, possibly of the other mother. This sets them on something of across-country quest, but a quest performed with cheap rental cars and a vat of peanut butter to provide food for the trip. Livy gives up and goes back to fishing in Alaska, but Cheyenne, thinking that it is her mother she's seeking, keeps going. 

The characters are appealing and you care about them, but at the same time you'll want to shake them. Their whole determination to "stick it to the man" has left them so poor almost everything they do becomes a high stakes game. They are constantly dependent on the kindness of strangers, and one of the most touching things in  "The Great Offshore Grounds" is how often strangers rise to the occasion.

The pros about this novel is that it is very different, with characters we infrequently meet in situations that you don't want to believe but you know are probably true. The cons? It's hard to see such bright, driven, creative women work so hard for so little. But those are the times we live in.

Thanks to Knopf and Netgalley for access to this fine novel.

~~Candace Siegle, Greedy Reader
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