Saturday, May 20, 2023

Ten top novels about the drama of working for the family business

Olivia Wolfgang-Smith is a Brooklyn-based author of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel is Glassworks.

Wolfgang-Smith’s writing has appeared in Salamander, Ninth Letter, The Common, and elsewhere. Her work has been longlisted for Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers and DIAGRAM’s Innovative Fiction Contest, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology. She earned her MFA at Florida State University, and originally hails from Rhode Island.

At Electric Lit Wolfgang-Smith tagged ten of the best novels about the drama of working for the family business, including:
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil

This novel, set in an alternate post-Soviet Russia, has the mesmerizing symmetry and logic of a folktale. Twin brothers Dima and Yarik work opposite shifts expanding the Oranzheria—an enormous greenhouse that, paired with the satellite mirrors that keep the city of Petroplavilsk in twenty-four-hour daylight, squeeze maximum efficiency from nature itself. Work is now both the only thing the brothers have in common and the thing that keeps them ruthlessly separated on opposing schedules—until an encounter with the mogul who owns the Oranzheria changes everything. Dima and Yarik become “the poster boys for opposing ideologies”—one drifting into anarchy to become a folk hero of the resistance; the other rising from promotion to promotion until he’s a modern icon of oligarchy.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Great Glass Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue