On Sunday afternoon I attended a presentation by Josh Weil at WriterHouse in Charlottesville about his new novel,The Great Glass Sea. I’ve known Josh for a few years–I guess we met at Sewanee originally, and we did a reading together in Charlottesville when he was promoting his first book, The New Valley: Novellas.
I also heard Josh read from the new book at AWP in Seattle this year, so I was keen to get my copy. For this event, Josh read the opening pages of the book, beautiful, dense pages that introduce the two brothers who are at the center of his story, set in Russia. Then began a conversation between Josh and Andrew Kaufman, a teacher of Russian literature. This was enlightening because it gave Josh an opportunity to talk about the research he did for the book as well as his several inspirations.
I’m never quite sure what is meant when critics and blurbers refer to an author as “the real deal,” but I can’t help but feel that way about Josh. The section of the book he read from was perfect, and his responses to questions were spot on. He’s a terrific writer, and yet he has just the right amount of humility to remain personable and approachable. I’m looking forward to reading this novel, and then there’s a story collection on the horizon.