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My Weil

My Weil

"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?