The Great Glass Sea
By Josh Weil
Grove Press, 2014. 474 pgs. Science Fiction
This is a story about twins, Yarik and Dima. They grow up living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights dreaming about their uncle's mythical 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, continually dreams of going back to the simple life on their uncle's farm land.
After witnessing an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire, their lives change forever as they are forced to take different shifts from each other. Yarik, works the day shift and starts his ascent in the company getting promotion after promotion, while Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence working the night shift.
Although it felt a little long at times, I really enjoyed this book. When I read the description, and saw the pictures I did expect this to lean more toward fantasy, but it is definitely all science fiction. I loved reading Weil's writing style. His beautiful descriptive words in combination of using a high number of Russian vocabulary throughout draws you fully into the Russian scenery and culture. The story he presents is great at capturing the spirit of the Russian family, and the tragedy of transitioning political ideals drawing them apart from their simple life on the "dacha".