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“[A] fascinating debut novel…hauntingly beautiful…Weil’s depictions of family life are filled with many such striking and heart-breaking details…I can’t think of any other novel that depicts fraternal love quite like this...A fantastical vision inspired by bits and pieces of Russian language, history and culture. It is beautifully baffled by the mysterious Russian soul.”
“Moving and sensitive…evokes the mythic feel of a contemporary classic. There's pathos and tension…breathtaking brilliance. Weil's greatest gift to the reader: a deep understanding of family, personal loss and the abiding love between siblings.”
"Weil conjures up image after image of great beauty and melancholy...some of them, like a lone figure skating atop the Oranzheria, have an indelible originality....The Great Glass Sea is a work of great ambition and imagination."
“If complex literary novels really are done for, Josh Weil must’ve missed the text message. His formidable “The Great Glass Sea” knits together strands of traditional Slavic folklore and futuristic speculative fiction to create a passionate reflection on technology and personal happiness. Spanning almost 500 pages, the novel poses mind-bending questions about politics, ecology and the ambivalent closeness of siblings…Weil pulls off dazzling strokes of storytelling…His distinctive voice obliges readers to slow down and swish certain passages around before swallowing...While keeping the sophisticated themes afloat (science vs. nature, the state vs. the individual, family obligation vs. ambition), almost every page flows with respect for the flawed, endearing heroes, Dima and Yarik. Pushing the envelope on literary artistry even further, each chapter begins with a pen-and-ink illustration by the author….A genre-bending epic steeped in archetypal stories, “The Great Glass Sea,” rises above the usual Cain-and-Abel formula by way of sensitive, resourceful craftsmanship.”
“Weil’s highly original drama unfolds in a fittingly unique setting…The Great Glass Sea showcases a dystopian society on a grand scale. An ambitious and richly imagined debut novel.”
"When Weil’s prose and “Russian novel” connect with our contemporary anxieties about the future of labor and value, something magical happens.”
“[An] impressive debut...As broad as its themes are—touching on political, philosophical and historical divisions—Weil’s first novel is rooted in family and fine storytelling; it's an engaging, highly satisfying tale blessed by sensitivity and a gifted imagination."
“A tale of longing and sadness, threaded by Russian folklore and heavy with the weight of love...resplendent and incandescent.”
“A well-timed dystopian tale, the novel beautifully details both the politics of [an] hypothetical Russia—“oligarchs bred beneath the clamp of communism let loose upon loot-fueled dreams”—and its impact on one small family.”
“Vivid prose and soaring imagination…The Great Glass Sea is an inventive dystopian tale from a brilliant storyteller about a not-so-far-fetched alternate present, a tale about family and brotherhood that simultaneously brings to light poignant political and philosophical inquiries. It’s a stunningly imagined debut that will dazzle and mesmerize readers as they disappear into its visionary depths and resurface with a new and more profound understanding of fraternal love.”
“Close to 500 pages, Weil’s novel bends genres, uses Russian folklore, and gives you enough little philosophical nuggets to bite on to fill your July quota for strange, but totally engrossing novels.”
— Flavorwire: 10 Must Read Books for July
“Thoughtful, elegiac…Weil couches this complex tale in prose that is lyrical, funny, sad, and often echoes folk-tale language. An audacious SF what-if…it will make you think and wonder. Sometimes it will make you laugh, and by the end, it will reward you.”
“Lyrical prose pulls readers from each paragraph to the next, and is peppered with brilliant and dark imagery as well as colorful Russian folklore, making The Great Glass Sea a must-read for fans of literary fiction.”
“Evocative of Russian classics…an ambitious analysis of the fallout of that one single moment, how the drive to work and amass impacts our happiness, and conversely how listlessness or a lack of ambition do the same…The Great Glass Sea is a joy to reflect on…Josh Weil proves himself a storyteller with the ability to deliver the kind of complex literature (with room for interpretation that lends itself to discussion and debate) in a time where fast, easy and digestible are far more common place.”
- The Powells.com Interview at Powell’s Books. Click here to read.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
THE AGE OF PERPETUAL LIGHT