Glassworks (Hardcover)

Glassworks By Olivia Wolfgang-Smith Cover Image

Glassworks (Hardcover)


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A gorgeously written and irresistibly intimate queer novel that follows one family across four generations to explore legacy and identity in all its forms.

A Goodreads Buzziest Debut Novel of 2023

In 1910, Agnes Carter makes the wrong choice in marriage. After years as an independent woman of fortune, influential with the board of a prominent university because of her financial donations, she is now subject to the whims of an abusive, spendthrift husband. But when Bohemian naturalist and glassblower Ignace Novak reignites Agnes's passion for science, Agnes begins to imagine a different life, and she sets her mind to getting it.

Agnes's desperate actions breed secrecy, and the resulting silence echoes into the future. Her son, Edward, wants to be a man of faith but struggles with the complexities of the mortal world while apprenticing at a
stained-glass studio.

In 1986, Edward's child, Novak-just Novak-is an acrobatic window washer cleaning Manhattan high-rises, who gets caught up in the plight of Cecily, a small town girl remade as a gender-bending Broadway ingénue.

And in 2015, Cecily's daughter Flip-a burned-out stoner trapped in a bureaucratic job firing cremains into keepsake glass ornaments-resolves to break the cycle of inherited secrets, reaching back through the generations in search of a family legacy that feels true.

For readers of Mary Beth Keane, Min Jin Lee, and Rebecca Makkai, Glassworks is "an era-spanning, family and chosen-family following, marvel of a debut." (CJ Hauser, author of FAMILY OF ORIGIN)

Olivia Wolfgang-Smith's fiction has appeared in Salamander, Ninth Letter, The Common, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She originally hails from Rhode Island and lives in Brooklyn with her spouse. Glassworks is her first novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781635578775
ISBN-10: 1635578779
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English

“This captivating saga that feels as taut and fragile as the glass-blown ornaments at the center of it follows four generations of people who discover that one wrong choice can echo across the ages. It's a twisty tale of love, chosen family, hard choices and harder people that picks up speed as it goes, careening breathlessly toward the last page.” —Good Housekeeping, Best Books of 2023 So Far

“This sophisticated debut from Wolfgang-Smith traces an evolving emotional legacy through four generations of a family while examining the basic question of 'how to love something without letting it have everything' … Wolfgang-Smith writes like a glass blower, patiently building and enhancing to create durable beauty. Simply put, this is a wonderful, wonderful book.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“A moving queer family saga following found family and blood family, and what happens when buried secrets come to light.” —Town & Country, The 38 Must-Read Books of Spring 2023

A page turner, a work of gorgeous prose, a rollicking good story full of brilliant observations about the human experience and characters I sometimes forget I do not know in real life. ... If Elizabeth McCracken and David Mitchell had a love child, it might look a bit like this era-spanning, family and chosen-family following, marvel of a debut.” —CJ Hauser, author of FAMILY OF ORIGIN

Wolfgang-Smith contends with vocation, identity, and the meaning of family in her appealing debut… As the various threads tie together, the author makes clever use of her central metaphor, considering glass as sharp, fluid, changeable, and even surprising-much like the characters she depicts. This is a radiant exploration of a complex legacy.” —Publishers Weekly

“Rendered in achingly gorgeous prose, Glassworks sweeps across generations, forging an engrossing portrait of a complex inheritance-a wise and inventive debut.” —Jennine Capó Crucet, author of MAKE YOUR HOME AMONG STRANGERS

With warmth, vividness, and humor, Wolfgang-Smith examines what we inherit and what is lost to silence and shows us how people come into themselves alongside the fragile legacies they build. A dazzling new voice.” —Cara Blue Adams, author of YOU NEVER GET IT BACK

“An astonishing multigenerational saga from a once-in-a-generation talent.” —Jake Wolff, author of THE HISTORY OF LIVING FOREVER

“In her brilliant and expansive debut, Glassworks, Olivia Wolfgang-Smith opens a window into the lives of four individuals separated across time and bound together by blood and vocation-here, glass is science, an art, an obstacle, a means for income, and the preserver of mystery. As these characters search for purpose and reason in their specific timelines, Wolfgang-Smith guides them with an empathetic eye, allowing them to act with pure heart and gumption, and daring readers to do the same. A refreshing, queer novel packed with found families, buried secrets, and intricate imagery, Glassworks is-simply put-stunning.” —Christopher Gonzalez, author of I'M NOT HUNGRY BUT I COULD EAT

“Olivia Wolfgang-Smith's debut is delicate, elegant, and timeless. ?Reminiscent of novels by Sarah Schulman and Michael Cunningham, Glassworks is a charming, tender examination of human foibles and the story of a remarkable family - lost, found, and chosen.” —Rafe Posey, author of THE STARS WE SHARE