The Age of Perpetual Light
Gold Winner for Fiction in the 2018 California Book Awards"A storyteller of the first order."--Joshua Ferris
"Josh Weil is a spectacular talent."--Lauren Groff
Following his debut Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning novel, The Great Glass Sea, Sue Kaufman Prize winner and National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" author Josh Weil brings together stories selected from a decade of work in one stellar 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, 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 desire for advancement and the struggle of wounded hearts to find a salve, no matter what the cost. This is a breathtaking book from one of our brightest literary lights.
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About the Author
"Author of the widely acclaimed debut novel The Great Glass Sea, Weil delivers a collection of eight stellar short stories, several bordering on novella length. As with his first book of short fiction, New Valley, Weil returns to themes of isolation and desire, this time threading a thematic brightness throughout, taking on electrification, modernity, and illumination in myriad forms. . . . Whether it takes place in the nineteenth-century countryside or a not-too-distant future, each one of Weil's magical, memorable stories carries "this charge in all our hearts, this flash that fires in us even now, this spark that drives us ever forward." --Booklist (starred review)
"This collection blends the evolving technology of light with its multifaceted impact on people's lives. The characters and settings are crafted with an ethereal skill that sets the mind spinning into new orbits...Highly recommended for the discerning reader."--Library Journal (starred review) "A rich, often dazzling collection of short stories linked by themes while ranging widely in style from Babel-like fables to gritty noir and sci-fi.... engrossing, persuasively detailed and written with a deep affection for the way language can, in masterful hands, convey us to marvelous new worlds."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Weil showcases his narrative abilities in these offbeat and spirited stories . . .Weil's stories have the scope and detours of longer work, and often seem to move on their own, following the protagonists' unpredictable lives. The breadth of subject matter and styles is impressive, defying easy categorization and making the stories all the more memorable." --Publishers Weekly
"The Age of Perpetual Light burns in the imagination like a set of lanterns, illuminating rare human spaces in the darkness of history. Weil is an immense talent, a writer who can craft convincing characters, with distinct voice and ethos, and also elevate narrative language to a level of poetry... What makes Weil a writer of the highest caliber is the intimacy he constructs between his characters...The Age of Perpetual Light is the result of an original mind working at the nexus of known history and poetic imagination. The collection is luminous throughout, its impressions and insights into the human condition coalescing like wondrous heat on a cold night."--Shelf Awareness
"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, author of Contents May Have Shifted "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
Praise for The Great Glass Sea
"[A] fascinating debut novel . . . The Great Glass Sea is not an alternative history . . . but a fantastical vision inspired by bits and pieces of Russian language history, and culture. It is beautifully baffled by the mysterious Russian soul."-- New York Times Book Review
"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."-- Los Angeles Times
"Captivating. A kind of sweeping historical fable . . . superbly drawn."-- Associated Press
"Brilliant. . . the book has the heartbeat of a fable, and plays out in the rhythms of a story told for generations. The resultant feeling is that of being on someone's knee while hearing this magnificent tale."-- The Rumpus.com "An ambitious and richly imagined debut novel."-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune "The most unexpected second book by a writer of note to appear in years . . . A grand fable . . . an absorbing and touching tale . . . Few young writers appreciate landscape, the way it shapes and diminishes people who live off it, quite like Weil . . . an engrossing story of brotherly division."-- Boston Globe