My Weil (Paperback)

My Weil By Lars Iyer Cover Image

My Weil (Paperback)

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"Memorable characters make this a singular exploration of the human condition." - Publishers Weekly

A scathingly funny look at a group of quirky graduate students majoring in Disaster Studies who are forced to reconsider their cynicism when they confront a new student who, remarkably, has the same name as the 20th Century Catholic mystic philosopher Simone Weil ...


My Weil follows a group of twenty-something PhD students of the new-fangled subject Disaster Studies at an inferior university in Manchester, England, the post-industrial city of so much great music and culture. They’re working class, by turns underconfident and grandiose (especially when they drink) and are reconciled to never finishing their dissertations or finding academic jobs.

Their immediate enemies are the drone-like Business Studies students all around them, as well as the assured and serene PhD students of the posh university up the road. And they’re working together on a film, through which they’re trying to make sense of their lives in Manchester and, in particular, to the Ees, a mysterious patch of countryside that appears to have supernatural qualities.

Into their midst arrives Simone Weil, a PhD student, a version of the twentieth century philosopher, who becomes the unlikely star of their film. Simone is devout, ascetic, intensely serious, and busy with risky charity work with the homeless. Valentine, hustler-philosopher, recognises Simone as a fellow would-be saint. But Gita, Indian posh-girl, is suspicious: what’s with Simone’s nun-shoes? And Marcie (AKA Den Mom), the leader of the pack, is too busy with her current infatuation, nicknamed Ultimate Destruction Girl, to notice.

The narrator, Johnny, who was brought up in care and is psychologically fragile, and deeply disturbed by the poverty of his adopted city, gradually falls in love in Simone. But will his love be requited? Will Simone be able to save the souls of her new friends and Manchester itself from apocalypse?
LARS IYER is a Professor in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, where he was formerly a longtime lecturer in philosophy. He is the author of the novels in the Spurious Trilogy, and more recently, the widely acclaimed Wittgenstein Jr., and Nietzsche and the Burbs.
Product Details ISBN: 9781685890605
ISBN-10: 1685890601
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: August 29th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English
A Public Books Public Picks 2023

"Nonacademics love to laugh at the foibles of academics, but academics love it even more..." - BookForum

"Think Minima Moralia as a stand-up routine. You’ll want to quote whole pages. And then there’s the perfect, groan-inducing title." - Public Books

"Eloquent, erudite, original, compelling, memorable, entertaining, My Weil showcases author Lars Iyer's impressive and genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling skills that fully engage the reader from beginning to end." - The Midwest Review of Books

"A satire of post-everything society ... My Weil is devastatingly funny." -- The Shepherd Express

"[An] intriguing, character-driven book." -- Booklist

"Iyer... takes seriously his theme of existential dread. Memorable characters make this a singular exploration of the human condition." --Publishers Weekly

"Hilarious and cynical in the best way possible, Lars Iyer’s latest delivers the post-graduate satire you need as the new academic year approaches." --Chicago Review of Books

"A perfect comic novel, My Weil shares the intense, urgent feelings of close young friends who are out to save the world, whether it notices them or not." --Foreword Reviews

"Lars Iyer does it again! My Weil is a melancholic, yet joyful story of lost PhD students hoping to find themselves in modern Manchester, lured there by the music of Joy Division, The Smiths and The Fall, enthralled by a student named after Simone Weil. As ever, it's thoughtful, punchy, and riotously funny - and will make you yearn for the halcyon days of the Hacienda .." - Juliet Jacques, author of Trans: A Memoir and Variations:

Praise for Iyer's previous books ...

”[Iyer] is a deeply elegaic satirist…He manages to both send up intellectual life and movingly lament its erosion.” —John Williams, The New York Times

”Iyer’s swiftly paced, gently satirical fifth novel builds to a startling crescendo.” —BBC

”Fearsomely funny.” The Washington Post

”Viciously funny.” The San Francisco Chronicle

”I’m still laughing, and it’s days later.” Los Angeles Times

”Stunning…absolutely exquisite.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

”What a fun book this is! Delight is such a rare commodity nowadays and it is terrific to see it has not been hunted to extinction.” — Daniel Handler, author of Bottle Grove