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From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a boldly original novel swathed in 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 uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s 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 vast versts of cropland.  Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the citizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaves the twins with only work in common—stalwart Yarik married with children, burdened by responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.

But an encounter with the Oranzheria’s oligarch owner changes them 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 spellbinding vision of an alternative Russia as stirring as it is profound.

Winner of

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize

The GrubStreet National Book Prize

The Library of Virginia’s Literary Award in Fiction


It’s not often that one can say truthfully about a book that it is not like any other book. But that is precisely what readers of Josh Weil’s radiantly written, profoundly original first novel will find themselves saying. Intricately composed and thrillingly audacious,The Great Glass Sea is a tender story of fraternal love and a visionary imagining of Russian society—a work whose scope enlarges to explore important questions about family, politics, labor, freedom, ambition, and storytelling.”

— Sigrid Nunez, GrubStreet contest judge

THE GREAT GLASS SEA

“[A] fascinating debut novel…hauntingly beautiful…A fantastical vision inspired by bits and pieces of Russian language, history and culture. It is beautifully baffled by the mysterious Russian soul.”

— The 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.”

                — The Los Angeles Times


“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…The radical family story of Yarik 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…There is something deeply original and current and historical in this large literary work of art.”

— Ron Carlson, contest judge for The Dayton Literary Peace Prize

A

New York Times

Editor’s Choice

and

  Powell’s

Indiespensible

Selection