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The Great Glass Sea

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The Great Glass Sea Cover

ISBN13: 9780802122155
ISBN10: 0802122159
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From sensational storyteller, Josh Weil, comes an epic tale of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in the all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the backdrop of an all too possible dystopian alternate reality.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncle's farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping and observing the fishermen, their nights spellbound by their uncle's mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sprawling glass greenhouse built over farmlands; a capitalist experiment that keeps the surrounding townspeople in perpetual daylight. Work is now the only thing the twins have in common — stalwart Yarik is married with children, and oppressed by the burden of responsibility and the pressures of work, whilst dreamer Dima lives alone with his mother and rooster and spends his time gingerly planning the brothers return to their uncles land.

One ordinary day, a bizarre encounter with the Oranzerhia's ruthless owner, Boris Romanovitch Bazarov, changes the brothers' lives forever. When Dima quits his job and Yarik garners promotion, both men become poster boys for two very different ideologies. As Yarik and Dima's paths increasingly diverge, they find themselves at the center of strange conspiracies, disasters, deceptions, and greed, that not only threaten to obliterate their bond, but divide the lives of everyone around them.

A thrillingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set in an alternative present-day Russia.

Review:

"Twin brothers find themselves on opposite sides of an ideological divide in this ambitious debut novel from the author of the novella collection The New Valley. Yarik and Dima grew up together in Russia, thick as thieves. As adults, they work at the Oranzheria, a massive greenhouse in the town of Petroplavilsk, which is bathed in perpetual daylight by space mirrors. Under the mirrors, the town becomes ceaselessly productive, a place where 'sleep was freed from nature's hours, breakfast was what happened before work,' and 'stores never closed.' Longing for more time with his brother, Dima becomes increasingly disenchanted with this new, overly productive society, while an encounter between Yarik and Russian billionaire Boris Bazarov — the oligarch behind the Oranzheria — leads to the Yarik's ascension through the ranks. A well-timed dystopian tale, the novel beautifully details both the politics of this hypothetical Russia — 'oligarchs bred beneath the clamp of communism let loose upon loot-fueled dreams' — and its impact on one small family. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A genuinely fascinating novel — for its inventiveness, its passionate breadth and vision." Richard Ford

Review:

"Josh Weil writes away from all the official channels, and yet he writes about exactly where we are now. His vision is sustained by proper instinct and intelligent observation. He is certainly among the most gifted writers of his generation." Colum McCann

Review:

"A marvelously strange parable, brought to earth by a nuanced and deeply felt portrait of fraternal love. If The New Valley didn't convince you, The Great Glass Sea will: Josh Weil is a storyteller of the first order." Joshua Ferris

Review:

"The Great Glass Sea imagines a Russia of the near-future that stands in for both the rest of the globe and the bonds between us as individuals: a world of both magical bounty and heartbreaking ephemerality. It's about the urge to on the one hand conserve all we can while on the other to make of all we encounter a field of ceaseless yield, and it's as sad and filled with wonder on its obsessive subject of brotherly love as any novel I've recently encountered." Jim Shepard

Synopsis:

From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncles farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncles mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass — the largest greenhouse in the world — that sprawls over acres of cropland. Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaving the twins with only work in common — stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers return to their uncles land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia's billionaire owner changes their lives forever. Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence while Yarik begins a headspinning ascent from promotion to promotion until both men become poster boys for opposing ideologies, pawns at the center of conspiracies and deceptions that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the very love that has bonded the brothers since birth. This is a breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.

About the Author

Josh Weil was the recipient of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for his debut novella collection, The New Valley. He has been named a National Book Award "5 Under 35" author, a Fulbright scholar, and was a Jersey Fellow at Columbia University. His fiction has appeared in Granta, StoryQuarterly, and New England Review, among others. Weil divides his time between New York City and Southwestern Virginia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Raggs, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by Raggs)
This book is fascinating for anyone interested in the struggles created in the minds of individuals encountering dramatic cultural change in their immediate environment, but is a true delight for those of us steeped in Russian language and culture from the 19th century to the present. Knowing Russian and classic Russian fairy tales and their pre-Soviet illustrations is not necessary for understanding, but greatly enhances enjoyment.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Eddie Presley, September 6, 2014 (view all comments by Eddie Presley)
This is a literary feast of ideas. I'm not sure it all works as well as the buzz and hype would lead one to believe. The writing is sumptuous and definitely thought out, but that may be the problem. It is, in places, over written instead of being 'poetically written' which is I'm sure what Weil was going for. You almost feel the author winking at you. After a chapters worth of that style of writing, the reader reflects back to find that the bulk of what he just read - particularly through the first 200 pages - is nothing but lavishly written side bars and flashbacks. In a literary work, I understand its not important to be constantly pressing forward with the action and plot, but often it feels like the author is just writing his heart out trying to find a voice.

Now, the story itself is not a bad one and when Weil deals specifically, directly in the present with the twin brothers and the drama of their lives it is most compelling. The idea of creating a constant daytime, a greenhouse over a land that doesn't have to stop growing and the great sea of glass that has to be built to make it happen, is a good idea. The idea of two brothers losing their connection to each other due to the politics and the changing culture of the time is also a good story. The snippets of direct interaction and plot can be so brief though that I found myself skipping a head to the next sign of "...dialogue..." because I wanted more of it - I wanted to see what was happening with this monstrosity they were creating and how it was affecting the brothers lives and the communities lives. There is a strong story here yearning to crest over the tide of wordplay. There is a good story here perhaps in spite of the wordplay. In fact, this story, in my opinion, would make a wonderful stylistically crafted animated film.

The other thought I had when reading it was if you took one of the early chapters and set it on its own as a short story, it would be brilliant. It would say everything I think the author was looking to say and the wordplay and characters would be far more impactful in fewer words and it would leave more to swirl in the readers imagination.

The Great Glass Sea is an author finding his way. I looked forward to the next one to see how far he's come in that journey.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780802122155
Author:
Weil, Josh
Publisher:
Grove Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Great Glass Sea Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Grove Press - English 9780802122155 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Twin brothers find themselves on opposite sides of an ideological divide in this ambitious debut novel from the author of the novella collection The New Valley. Yarik and Dima grew up together in Russia, thick as thieves. As adults, they work at the Oranzheria, a massive greenhouse in the town of Petroplavilsk, which is bathed in perpetual daylight by space mirrors. Under the mirrors, the town becomes ceaselessly productive, a place where 'sleep was freed from nature's hours, breakfast was what happened before work,' and 'stores never closed.' Longing for more time with his brother, Dima becomes increasingly disenchanted with this new, overly productive society, while an encounter between Yarik and Russian billionaire Boris Bazarov — the oligarch behind the Oranzheria — leads to the Yarik's ascension through the ranks. A well-timed dystopian tale, the novel beautifully details both the politics of this hypothetical Russia — 'oligarchs bred beneath the clamp of communism let loose upon loot-fueled dreams' — and its impact on one small family. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A genuinely fascinating novel — for its inventiveness, its passionate breadth and vision."
"Review" by , "Josh Weil writes away from all the official channels, and yet he writes about exactly where we are now. His vision is sustained by proper instinct and intelligent observation. He is certainly among the most gifted writers of his generation."
"Review" by , "A marvelously strange parable, brought to earth by a nuanced and deeply felt portrait of fraternal love. If The New Valley didn't convince you, The Great Glass Sea will: Josh Weil is a storyteller of the first order."
"Review" by , "The Great Glass Sea imagines a Russia of the near-future that stands in for both the rest of the globe and the bonds between us as individuals: a world of both magical bounty and heartbreaking ephemerality. It's about the urge to on the one hand conserve all we can while on the other to make of all we encounter a field of ceaseless yield, and it's as sad and filled with wonder on its obsessive subject of brotherly love as any novel I've recently encountered."
"Synopsis" by , From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncles farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncles mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass — the largest greenhouse in the world — that sprawls over acres of cropland. Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaving the twins with only work in common — stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers return to their uncles land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia's billionaire owner changes their lives forever. Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence while Yarik begins a headspinning ascent from promotion to promotion until both men become poster boys for opposing ideologies, pawns at the center of conspiracies and deceptions that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the very love that has bonded the brothers since birth. This is a breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.

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