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Winner of the
2010 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts & Letters
for “the best work of first fiction (novel or short stories) published in 2009.”
“Among the best of a new generation of writers”
- The National Book Foundation
“An amazing book…manages to see through to the rawest, most tender and aching core of humanity...leaves us with something like wisdom...we come away changed.”
– GLCA Judges
The three linked novellas that comprise Fulbright-winner Josh Weil’s debut bring us into America’s remote and often unforgiving backcountry, and delicately open up the private worlds of three very different men as they confront love, loss, and their own personal demons.
Set in the hardscrabble hill country between West Virginia and Virginia, The New Valley is populated by characters striving to forge new lives in the absence of those they have loved. Told in three varied and distinct voices – from a soft-spoken middle-aged landscaper and beef farmer struggling to hold himself together after his dad’s suicide; to a health-obsessed single father desperate to control his reckless, overweight daughter; to a mildly retarded man who falls in love with a married woman intent on using him in a scheme that will wound them both – each novella is a vivid, stand-alone examination of uniquely romantic relationships. As the men struggle against grief, solitude, and obsession, their desperation slowly leads them all to commit acts that will bring both ruin and salvation.
Written with a deeply American tone and in empathetic, meticulously crafted prose, The New Valley is a tender exploration of resilience, isolation, and the deep, consuming ache for human connection.
”Weil meticulously imagines people and their histories, and presents them as a product of their places. This is perhaps the hardest thing for a fiction writer of any age, working in any form, to accomplish.... Keep writing novellas, Josh Weil, because you write very good ones.”
*also an Editor’s Choice
“I was captivated and moved by each of these finely made novellas. The quiet, mostly ordinary lives of the characters who populate The New Valley shine with a strange and intense luminosity that is at times heartbreaking, at other times triumphant. There is a magic and gentle beauty in this book that makes me remember why I had always wanted to be a writer.”
— Tim O'Brien
"Josh Weil’s debut book The New Valley has a sense of the notable on every page. This is the very rare but clear case of the sky being the limit for a young author."
— Jim Harrison
"Weil's debut is a stark and haunting triptych of novellas...Taken individually, each novella offers its own tragic pleasures, but together, the works create a deeply human landscape that delivers great beauty.”
THE NEW VALLEY