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by Atticus Lish

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Tyrant Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)



Zou Lei, orphan of the desert, migrates to work in America and finds herself slaving in New York's kitchens. She falls in love with a young man whose heart has been broken in another desert. A new life may be possible if together they can survive homelessness, lockup, and the young man's nightmares, which may be more prophecy than madness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
*Winner of the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction*
*Winner of the New York City Book Award for Fiction*
*Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Fiction*
*Winner of Brooklyn Public Library Eagles Literary Prize for Fiction*
*Winner of the 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Prize for Fiction*
*Winner of Word Riot's 2015 Paula Anderson Book Award*

New York Times Best of 2014
Wall Street Journal's Best of 2014
Vanity Fair's Best of 2014
Publishers Weekly's Best of 2014
BuzzFeed's Best of 2014
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015

"The finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade." -The New York Times

"Preparation for the Next Life is dizzying in its ambition and exhilarating in its triumph." -The New York Times Book Review

"As bold and urgent a love story as you’ll read this year." -Wall Street Journal

"Preparation for the Next Life, by Atticus Lish, is an astounding first novel about a world so large there is, sometimes, nowhere to go; a world so small the people in it, sometimes, get lost. The book has the boundless, epic exhilaration you expect to find only in a writer as mighty as, say, Walt Whitman." -The New York Review of Books

"Lovely and soft, tragic and cutting . . . maybe the most surprising novel of the year, for the author’s sudden, astounding appearance on the scene, yes, but more for the temporal details matched succeeded by glowing tenderness." -Vanity Fair

"A bare-knuckled tale about two lost souls," –

"A sledgehammer to the American dream." -Kirkus Reviews

"One of the most acclaimed debut novelists of the year." -New York Observer

"This novel is nothing less than a triumph, worthy of every heroic adjective a critic could throw. It is a reminder, plain and simple, of what fiction is for." -Financial Times

"Atticus Lish writes with beauty, striking attention to detail, and painful honesty about life on the margins of America — about the people we don’t see, the places we don’t go." -BuzzFeed

“Not since Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain have such arduously yearning treks been made through maddening, heartbreaking obstructions in the name of love.” - New York Journal of Books

"In the twenty-first-century United States, oppression is disorganized, random and proceeds largely through neglect. Still, it crushes plenty of people. The wretched of the earth are here among us, for the most part silenced—but with this novel, Lish has given them an unmistakable voice." -The Nation

"Preparation for the Next Life isn’t just the best novel I’ve read this year, it may be be the best novel I’ve read, ever. I’ve seen the book appearing on quite a few “best of” lists recently—well deserved. And I am now a believer: this book should be in the conversation for a national prize." -Publishers Weekly, Best of 2014

"The narrative in Preparation for the Next Life is full of movement, and the prose compulsively conveys the sensory impressions and social interactions of life in the city. As well as being a raw and sharply rendered love story, this is a stark portrayal of immigration, an autopsy of the degradations of the Bush years, and as ambitious and impressive a first novel as you could hope to find." -The Irish Times

"Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life, published this month, is the first novel I’ve read in ages that takes New York as seriously — with as much fortified realism — as Dubliners takes Dublin" -Flavorwire

"So much of American fiction has become playful, cynical and evasive. 'Preparation for the Next Life' is the strong antidote to such inconsequentialities. Powerfully realistic, with a solemn, muscular lyricism, this is a very, very good book" –Joy Williams

"[Preparation for the Next Life] is devastatingly good. My heart was a different size by the time I finished: swollen from the terrible beating it took, but also, I think, permanently augmented.’ -Ned Beauman

"The 'next life' of Atticus Lish’s novel is the one you have to die to know. It’s also the next civilian life of a soldier ravaged by three tours in Iraq, and the dodgy life of an immigrant in the city’s sleepless boroughs. The work is violent, swift, and gloriously descriptive. It is love story and lament, a haunting record of unraveling lives. Lish says starkly and with enormous power: the spirit prevails until it doesn’t. A stunning debut." -Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First

"An illegal Chinese immigrant meets a broken American warrior, and the great love story of the 21st century begins. The intersection of their paths seems inevitable, irrevocable. Their story: tender, violent, terrible, and beautiful. Atticus Lish's prose, lyrical and taut, sentences as exact and indisputable as chemical formulas, is trance-like, evangelical in its ability to convert and convince its reader. Preparation for the Next Life is that rare novel that grabs you by the shirt and slaps you hard in the face. Look, it says. It isn't pretty. Turn away at your own risk. In case you haven't noticed, the American Dream has become a nightmare. Atticus Lish has your wake up call. He has created a new prototype of the hero, and her journey provides us with a devastating perspective on the "promised land" of the post 9/11 U.S., where being detained is a rite of passage and the banality of violence is simply part of the pre-apocalyptic landscape." -Christopher Kennedy, author of Ennui Prophet

"Atticus Lish has written the most relevant, and beautiful, novel of the year." -Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia and Hill William

Related Subjects

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  • ">21st Century American Fiction
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  • ">Vanity Fair's 11 Best Books of 2014
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