Vanessa Veselka | 'The Great Offshore Grounds'
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 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 both reveals a stunning family secret and compels them to come to grips with it. 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
"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 (starred)
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, 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. She lives in Portland, OR.
She will be in conversation with Molly Crabapple, an artist and writer whose inspirations include Diego Rivera and Goya’s The Disasters of War. She is the author of Brothers of the Gun, an illustrated collaboration with Syrian war journalist Marwan Hisham, which was a NY Times Notable Book and long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award. Her memoir, Drawing Blood, received global praise and attention. Her animated short film “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” has been nominated for an Emmy award in the category of Outstanding News Analysis: Editorial and Opinion.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 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.
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A bracingly immediate memoir by a young man coming of age during the Syrian war, an intimate lens on the century’s bloodiest conflict, and a profound meditation on kinship, home, and freedom.