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The New Valley: Novellas Paperback – Bargain Price, May 11, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Weil's debut is a stark and haunting triptych of novellas set in the rusted-out hills straddling the border between the Virginias. In Ridge Weather, Osby, a hardscrabble cattle rancher, finds himself lonely and isolated after his father's suicide. In the aftermath he struggles to make some sort of a personal connection in increasingly desperate attempts to be needed by someone. In Stillman Wing, the elderly Charlie Stillman, afraid of his own mortality, tries to reinvigorate his life by stealing and reconditioning a tractor, all the while maintaining a relationship with his obese, promiscuous daughter and coming to terms with the death of his barnstormer parents. Sarverville Remains, takes the form of a letter from Geoffrey Sarver, a mildly retarded orphan, to an incarcerated man whose wife he has fallen in love with, and takes on the elements of a well-told crime story. All three pieces, despite their somber tones, offer renewal for their protagonists. Taken individually, each novella offers its own tragic pleasures, but together, the works create a deeply human landscape that delivers great beauty. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

A restive nobility binds the sorrowful protagonists of Weil’s stellar debut collection of novellas, each a tender anthem to a starkly unforgiving Virginia countryside and the misguided determination of its most forsaken residents. Whether driven by a persistent yearning for acceptance, a paralyzing sense of loss, or a plaintive slide into oblivion, three solitary men are eventually undone by the abject and overwhelming loneliness that comes when they are abandoned by a loved one. In “Ridge Weather,” an isolated cattle farmer grapples with unfamiliar independence in the aftermath of his father’s suicide, while “Stillman Wing” chronicles the inexorable decline of a once-vital man after his self-destructive daughter leaves home. The searingly poignant “Sarverville Remains” calls forth the mesmerizing voice of a slow-witted young man who is willfully caught in a diabolical love triangle. Throughout, Weil limns a rugged emotional landscape every bit as raw and desolate as the land that inspired it, delivering an eloquent portrait of people who defiantly cling to a fierce independence. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144867
  • ASIN: B005EP2XR4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Weil is the author of the novel The Great Glass Sea, forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in July, 2014, and the novella collection The New Valley (Grove Atlantic, 2009).

A New York Times Editors Choice, The New Valley won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New Writers Award from the GLCA, and a "5 Under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation. Weil's other fiction has appeared in Granta, Esquire, Agni and One Story, and he has written non-fiction for The New York Times, The Sun, Oxford American, and Poets & Writers. A recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences, he has been the Tickner Writer-in-Residence at Gilman School, the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University, and the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Born in the Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia, he currently lives with his family in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, where he is at work on a collection of stories.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Howard P. Grill on July 4, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author certainly gets to the core of his characters and is able to let us see the world through their eyes and experience their emotions. In fact, one emerges 'feeling their world' as it were, which is a world that is certainly quite different from my own.

However, while the stories are satisfying and emotional, particularly the one about Stillman, I found them rather slow moving. This is particularly true of the last one, during which my interest was lost long before the ending. Definitely less grabbing than the other two. Nonetheless, I found myself wanting more than just seeing and feeling through the characters eyes. In short, I felt like there simply wasn't enough happening to really keep me wanting to continue through the stories.

I know this one got wonderful reviews from The NYT Book Review etc, and while I thought it was good, I just didn't find it to be THAT good. A solid three stars, at least that was what it did for me.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Goolrick on May 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Josh Weil's first book, and it is extraordinary. He is the real deal; a great writer with something to say about the intricate sadness and bravery and hopefulness of the human heart. Set in the hardscrabble country of Southwest Virginia, each of these three novellas is a gem, each different, each moving and involving and stunning in the simplicity and beauty of the language. Josh Weil is The Next Great Thing in American fiction. Don't miss it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jay D. Smalls on January 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a reader of Jim Harrison's novellas, I was very impressed with Weil's debut. Unlike a lot of collections you read, the three novellas here are actually very different from each other, mostly in terms of what actually happens in them, but also in the way they're told, the style of the writing (the third is a crazy narrative told from the point of view of a mentally handicapped man who has found himself in a dangerous love triangle), yet they are similar in all the right ways so that the book delivers a deeply felt portrait of bleak rural life, and packs a hell of an emotional punch. There are authors who seem to be able to really bring a place alive, to imagine something in such a real way that you just believe they know what they're talking about. Harrison does that, and one of my other favorites, Cormac McCarthy, does it, and Josh Weil does it too. The New Valley is a fully imagined book, with stunning descriptions and many breathtaking details, full of sad, haunted men, and it's obvious that Weil knows these people as well as he knows the land. Like Ethan Canin, Weil writes like a much older man. But he's obviously young enough to have just been named one of the "5 under 35" writers to watch by the National Book Awards people which, once you've read this, won't come as a surprise.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Grant Barber on May 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the satisfying read of the spring. I have stacked next to me the Spivet book, and one about when Thoreau set fire to the woods around Concord, and another about a novelist in Iran in a struggle with his censor. Each is fine, and I'll get through them, plus the stack of other books that are there too, but this collection of novellas is what I was longing for...you just read it and can have a satisfied "yes" response. Have had similar reactions to the first novel I read by Rick Bass, and Jim Harrison, and McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and Doig's Dancing at Rascal Creek, and Ron Carlson. Take the first novella: images, such as late spring snow, and sunset, a deserted house, cars driving in the distance worked into great, paced story telling. The main character of the novella is revealed as a complex flesh and blood guy, not some mopey sad sack, not some romantic heroic larger than life man-of-solitude, and yet he's more than just his singular life--seems to point to verities of living. Of all the books for this spring, this is the one I'll want to put in other's hands.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laura Van Den Berg on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The depth and grace of the storytelling, the lyric precision of the language, the richly-rendered setting, and the unforgettable characters make The New Valley a stunning, accomplished debut. Best of all, it's unlike any book I have read before. Weil is an undeniably powerful new voice in contemporary fiction.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Selby on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an avid reader, especially of newly published fiction. This is right up there with the Pulizer-winning Olive Kitteridge (2008) by Elizabeth Strout. The book consists of three separate, but inter-linked, short novels set in the hardness that life offers those who live it out in America's backcountry. Then there are those who finally give up, pull the trigger. And that is where the reader will find herself when opening up a book that I suspect will not be easy to put down. The language is truly brilliant with skies that are tacked up by stars. There are books which I treat like a rich dessert, refusing to let myself finish up because I just know that the next book I pick up will be so much less. And this is just that kind of work. It will get awards--or it should anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Sasaki on February 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In our fast-paced, increasingly urbanized world, Josh Weil's novella collection "The New Valley" is a gem. Weil has a gift for naturalistic description. His resonant prose is avidly attentive to landscape, as though distilled from many hours of meditative observation. Yet, despite this, the narratives are expertly paced, their events unfolding organically from the setting and characters, often in quiet yet surprising ways. I highly recommend!
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