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The Great Glass Sea




In this genre-bending opus, Josh Weil gives us twin brothers who are closer than brothers in a myth, so close it fills our heart and challenges our comfort; and then, plying us with epic poems and layered stories, Weil speculates a future Russia with endless reflected technological sunshine. The radical family story of Yarick and Dima becomes the warm-blooded center of one of the oldest dialogues in the world, and in many ways the most current: should the Consortium and the corporate future dominate people's right to life on earth, the pleasures of long dinners and stories and family and the old farm? The novel’s muscle is the dangerous and saving power of tales, of our stories and who uses them and to what ends. Weil's gift to us is the construct of his vivid Russian world, this ancient proud commune at the glassy edge of the future, so strange but with a texture so convincing and real it hurts; it hosts the political storm the way all great writing supports its human dramas. The awesome exactitude of the metaphor made physical – the literal glass sea – is a tour de force in itself; its meaning emerges slowly as it is constructed and then we have to deal with all the things that this crushing project does to the light and darkness of the people below. This book is about more than Russia. There is something deeply original and current and historical in this large literary work of art.

— Ron Carlson
2015 finalist judge

2015 Fiction Winner

Josh Weil, photo credit Jilan Carroll Glorfield
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(Click photo to see acceptance speech at awards dinner.)

Josh Weil
The Great Glass Sea

“I’ve long believed that narrative’s greatest power lies in its ability to bind us to others and, in doing so, to make us see ourselves, and our world, with greater complexity and compassion. Because literature can draw us into characters’ interiors, make us witness to their souls, it is uniquely suited to this task: a book need not be about war to promote peace; it need not be about violence to encourage kindness; it must simply strive to create a greater understanding of the human heart. This is how literature sets the groundwork for a more humane world. To have The Great Glass Sea recognized for its attempt to do so is a deeply humbling and inspiring honor.”

— Josh Weil                        


Josh Weil was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his novella collection, The New Valley. A National Book Award "Five Under Thirty-Five" author, he has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Columbia University, the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, and Sewanee. His fiction has appeared in Granta, Esquire, One Story, and Tin House.


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