Collapse of the Soviet Union and Brotherly Love Featured in New Novel

Aug 18, 2014

Author Josh Weil
Credit Jilan Carroll Glorfield

Josh Weil will debut his novel, The Great Glass Sea, Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at Bookbug in Kalamazoo along with friend and author Mike Harvkey. Weil describes his book as a "fraternal love story."

It's about two Russian brothers whose parents are unable to care for them and so they become each others' support in life. But when they near adulthood and the Soviet Union collapses, the brothers are desperate to hold on to the close relationship they had as kids.

The Soviet Union and Russia

Weil spent some time in Russia and noticed that the people he talked to there were still trying to grapple with the dramatic change between Soviet Russia and modern capitalist Russia. Weil says there are several characters that represent different factions in this tumultuous time. There are old communists, anarchists who are anti-work called the 'leisurists,' and an oligarch that represents capitalism. Weil says oligarchs were able to thrive under capitalism because they had been involved in the black market and knew how the system worked. Though there are many philosophical issues in the book, Weil says he is careful not to call any of these views right or wrong.

Fable and Near Science Fiction

Weil says a lot of the book springs from Russian folktales. For example, there's one part where Ivan the Fool (a popular character in Russian folklore) has to defeat a legendary beast to bring light back to the world. What takes the light away you ask? Futuristic satellites that are sent into orbit to bring the sun into the dark part of the Earth - eliminating night from one part of the world while taking away daylight from the other. 

Comparisons with Mike Harvkey's In the Course of Human Events

Though the two books may seem very different, Weil says he has found a few comparisons between his book and that of his friend Mike Harvkey. Harvkey is looking at the collapse of the American Dream in America's heartland and Weil is dealing with similar issues only in the way that Russia adopted American capitalism. Weil says both protagonists also feel cut off from mainstream culture and wind up taking extreme routes to hold on to themselves.