Author(s): Atticus Lish
Zou Lei is an illegal immigrant who works at a Chinese restaurant in Queens in search of a better life in the 'Land of the Brave'. Brad Skinner has recently arrived in New York following a tour in Iraq and is determined to party as hard as he can in order to start 'wanting to live again'. When their paths cross, they discover that new starts may be possible for both of them, if they can survive homelessness, lockup and Skinner's post-traumatic stress disorder, which may be more prophecy than madness.
'An instantly immersive, atmospheric book, a love story and a gripping chronicle of the concealed purgatories of New York City, and the world. Mr Lish's prose is superlucid, propulsive but always beautifully controlled, authoritative yet selfless, wrought with an exactitude that is the toughest but deepest kind of compassion a book can have.' -- Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins 'Ferocious and immense, this book will break your heart.' -- Niall Griffiths 'Here's the kind of book that shows up, if we're lucky, every five, maybe ten years. It's a book that masterfully anchors itself in the literary "novel" form while going leaps and bounds over a dozen of its kin in its authenticity, Lish's command of the sentence capturing a dizzyingly accurate worldview from street level and up.' Electric Literature
Winner of PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction 2015.
'This book is a masterwork.' Alan Warner, author of Morvern Callar '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, author of The Teleportation Accident 'Powerful... Lish writes with rare confidence... he doesn't forget that a good love story should break your heart' Metro 'Punches its way, bare-knuckled, through every millennial New York novel centring around middle-class intellectual characters... kicking typical tales of artsy, east-coast intelligentsia romance into a dumpster. But its real target, sought out with a heat-seeking precision, is far weightier, and that is America itself' Observer 'Extraordinary... "Make it new" was Ezra Pound's exhortation... Lish does exactly that... astonishing... 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' FT 'Will pull you in... completely compelling and persuasive... a New York which you won't read about that often... poetic... there's a beautiful exactness' RTE 'A blistering novel... bigger than the sum of its parts. I can think of no better recent fiction book to read as the presidential election circuit gears up.' The Times 'Importan[t]...Lish excels at dialogue' Literary Review 'Here is a raw first novel with a low center of gravity. Set in Queens, it dilates upon blinkered lives, scummy apartments, dismal food and bad options. At its heart is a love story between a Chinese immigrant and a veteran of the Iraq war. Mr. Lish's narrative is intense, moving and somehow necessary.' -- Dwight Garner New York Times, 2014 Books of the Year 'Impressive. Charged with breathless momentum... substantial and beguiling...This is, in the end, a profoundly political book' Guardian 'Extraordinarily powerful... The burning intensity of the prose... fully absorbs all the detail... Lish's remarkable debut fuses raw realism with narrative poetry to truly memorable effect' Sunday Times 'A significant contribution... striking... [Lish] isn't catching a mood but building a world... we look to long novels for richness, not perfection, for power, not precision, so we should savour Lish's audacity and open heart, his refusal to coddle or console' Daily Telegraph 'Magnificent... one of the best recent novels I have read about work as it exists for millions of people... attests to a more profound and intimate knowledge of how life functions on the margins' New Statesman 'Astonishing, gorgeous... It is hard to imagine a more daunting task for a novelist than to say something new about 9/11. Preparation for the Next Life is dizzying in its ambition and exhilarating in its triumph.' Clancy Martin, -- Clancy Martin New York Review of Books 'The finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade.' New York Times 'A tremendous book, relentless, moving, written in prose of marvellous integrity. Now that America and the novel are dead, I hope we can have more great American novels as alive as this one.' Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask 'A tour de force of urban naturalism... a love story that's as bold and urgent as any you'll read this year.' -- Sam Sacks Wall Street Journal 'A stunning debut novel... Lish's prose is at once raw and disciplined, and every word feels necessary.' Publishers Weekly 'The most relevant, and beautiful, novel of the year.' Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia and Hill William
Atticus Lish is the author of Life is With People. The son of legendary writer and editor Gordon Lish, he has worked in a Styrofoam factory, as a construction labourer, a personal trainer, moving man, security guard and telemarketer. He served a brief stretch in the Marine Corps in the war-free period between Gulf One and 9/11. He lives in New York.