winner of

“Brilliant...Weil seems most comfortable writing Deborah Eisenberg-length stories of 25 to 50-plus pages that can read more as novellas, in the best way possible. They are patient and provocative, nuanced and far-reaching. For their breadth, intensity and audacity of ambition, the stories of "The Age of Perpetual Light" situate themselves as natural heirs to such masterpieces as Denis Johnson's "Train Dreams" and James Joyce's "The Dead.”” — The New York Times Book Review

"A rich, often dazzling collection...Weil's stories are engrossing, persuasively detailed and written with a deep affection for the way language can, in masterful hands, convey us to marvelous new worlds.”

                — Kirkus (Starred Review)

Josh Weil brings together stories selected from a decade of work in a new collection that explores themes of progress, the pursuit of knowledge, and humankind’s eternal attempt to decrease the darkness in the world.

Beginning at the dawn of the past century, in the early days of electrification, and moving into an imagined future in which the world is lit day and night, each tale in The Age of Perpetual Light follows deeply felt characters through different eras in American history: from a Jewish dry goods peddler who falls in love with an Amish woman while showing her the wonders of an Edison Lamp to a 1940 farmers’ uprising against the unfair practices of a power company; from a Serbian immigrant teenage boy in 1990’s Vermont desperate to catch a glimpse of an experimental satellite to a back-to-the-land couple forced to grapple with their daughter’s autism during winter’s longest night. As he did with the rough-living figures in his soulful and “devastatingly memorable” (Binnie Kirshenbaum) The New Valley, in The Age of Perpetual Light Weil explores through his unforgettable characters our most complex and fraught desires.

Brilliantly hewn and piercingly observant, these are tales that speak to the all-too-human aspiration for advancement and the struggle of wounded hearts to find a salve, no matter what the cost.

“Josh Weil is a lamplighter, the best possible kind.  He moves us into each of these earthy, elegant stories and suddenly the light changes in ways we couldn't have imagined.  The Age of Perpetual Light is a special book woven with generosity and grit as it works against the dark to take the true measure of kinship.”

                                           — Ron Carlson

How much wattage does it take to illuminate the darkest corners of the human heart? In eight complex, luminous and light bearing stories, and with endless compassion for his superbly drawn characters, Josh Weil has the audacity to ask such a question, knowing full well that the answer may be: more than we have ever, or will ever have.”

                                            — Pam Houston


The California Book Award