“A rich, often dazzling collection of short stories linked by themes while ranging widely in style from Babel-like fables to gritty noir and sci-fi.... engrossing, persuasively detailed and written with a deep affection for the way language can, in masterful hands, convey us to marvelous new worlds.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 



In the Course of Human Events is a dark, and yet compassionate gaze into the frustrated, violent, and broken heart of America. Mike Harvkey has written a gripping, bold and daring novel unlike any I’ve had the pleasure of reading before.”

—Dinaw Mengestu

Illuminated Lives: Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey

Wednesday October 4, 2017
07:00 pm

Tags: Event



Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winner and 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize finalist Josh Weil (The Great Glass Sea; The New Valley) was joined by author Mike Harvkey (In the Course of Human Events) to celebrate Weil’s new story collection The Age of Perpetual Light (Grove Press). This collection spans a decade of writing, and depicts a complex and diverse cast of characters through different eras in American history, from the early days of electrification to an imagined future of perpetual light.


About The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil

Following his debut Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning novel, The Great Glass Sea, Josh Weil brings together stories selected from a decade of work in a stellar new collection. Beginning at the dawn of the past century, in the early days of electrification, and moving into an imagined future in which the world is lit day and night, The Age of Perpetual Light follows deeply-felt characters through different eras in American history: from a Jewish dry goods peddler who falls in love with an Amish woman while showing her the wonders of an Edison Lamp, to a 1940 farmers’ uprising against the unfair practices of a power company; a Serbian immigrant teenage boy in 1990’s Vermont desperate to catch a glimpse of an experimental satellite, to a back-to-the-land couple forced to grapple with their daughter’s autism during winter’s longest night.          

Brilliantly hewn and piercingly observant, these are tales that speak to the all-too-human desire for advancement and the struggle of wounded hearts to find a salve, no matter what the cost. This is a breathtaking book from one of our brightest literary lights.


About In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey

Battered, bruised, and bloodied by the economic collapse, Clyde Twitty has all but given up hope for the future. The factory has shut down, the pick-up needs repairs, and the place he calls home is the town the American Dream forgot. Right about now he could use some help. Enter Jay Smalls, a charismatic martial artist who exerts an intense magnetic pull. Under Jay's brutal instruction, Clyde begins a series of increasingly frightening tests that draw him into a seedy underworld of bare-knuckle fighting, brazen criminal acts, homemade drugs, and homegrown extremism. Jay reshapes Clyde into a fearless fighter--and directs his burning anger at a deserving target: the government. 

In this thrilling debut novel--equal parts satire and morality play--Harvkey shines a sharp light on the radical underbelly of the floundering American Midwest. As he traces the violent rebirth of a desperate man, he explores with unflinching acuity the ugly nature of hate, the mechanics of radicalization, and the atomic power of having someone believe in you.


Josh Weil is the author of the novel The Great Glass Sea; the novella collection The New Valley; and The Age of Perpetual Light, a story collection published in September 2017. A New York Times Editor’s Choice and Powell’s Indispensable selection, The Great Glass Sea won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the GrubStreet National Book Prize, and the Library of Virginia’s Literary Award in Fiction, and was short-listed for The Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. 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 short fiction has garnered a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Granta, Esquire, Tin House, and One Story, among others. He has written nonfiction for The New York Times, The Sun, Poets & Writers and 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, and has taught in the graduate programs at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and Bennington College.

Mike Harvkey grew up in rural Missouri. He is the author of the 2014 novel, In the Course of Human Events, published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. His writing has appeared in Esquire, Poets & Writers, Salon, The Believer, Zoetrope All-Story Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, Nylon and elsewhere. From 2010-2013 Mike served as Fiction Reviews Editor for Publishers Weekly. The recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Columbia University, Mike currently teaches in the MFA program at Columbia.