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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Preparation for the Next Life Paperback – November 11, 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


*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 the 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Prize for Fiction*

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

"Perhaps 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 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

"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

About the Author

Atticus Lish: Atticus Lish lives in New York.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrant Books (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988518333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988518339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By rctnyc VINE VOICE on November 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This extraordinary novel received a rave review in the New York Times, with the reviewer quoting long passages from the text to illustrate his point that the writing style is in itself remarkable: stark, unsentimental, yet incredibly poetic and evocative. The plot is heartbreaking but simple - the romance between a physically and emotionally damaged Iraq war vet and a a half-Han, half Muslim - an ethnic minority in China - illegal Chinese immigrant. The characters are three-dimensional and their story is tragic and compelling. The real story, however, is the theme of cultural, social and economic conflict and disintegration in modern urban America. The little injustices and expression of inhumanity that the characters face at each turn - the seemingly random, gratuitous physical and emotional violence - make their struggles seem at once noble, Inspiring and, perhaps futile. The descriptions of the landscape in which they struggle, give their story an iconic quality - they are themselves, and have no vision of being anything more than that, yet to the reader are everyone.

Depressing? No, gripping - Lish's incredibly detailed, poetic descriptions of the burnt out, busted landscape in which his characters try to forge a relationship and a life - the food malls, junkyards, garages, basements, highways, train station, municipal buildings of the working and lower middle class, particularly immigrants - give this novel a luminous, surreal quality that you will not soon forget. The landscape is transfigured by - what? Hope? Determination? Despair? Spirit? Not a word in this novel is smarmy or sentimental - it is pitiless - yet something else is going on here; humanity.
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Format: Paperback
There were moments when I thought this novel was just too improbable, too chaotic, and too depressing for me to press on. After persevering, I knew I had read a dazzling, original exploration of a violent sickness that permeates American life today by a writer whose language skills and powers of observation make the trip worthwhile.

Zou Lei, female, is an undocumented ethnic Uigher from China who labors in restaurant kitchens and does pushups like a man. Skinner is a wrecked specimen of PTSD after three tours in Iraq. They run on foot, to each other, from each other, over long stretches of Manhattan and Flushing until-- no spoiler alerts here.

FYI: Author Atticus Lish is the son of a famous father in literary circles, which has given his first novel some running shoes of its own. I don't begrudge him this advantage; he wrote an amazing book and needs all the help he can get.
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This is the most important book I've read in ten years. No one has explored what it means to be an American as sharply or without congratulating themselves for it since who knows. The characters and plot are cinematic, burned into your mind. In this age of selfies and Buzzfeed lists, you need this depth and severity on the page and in your starving mind.
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This is the book you want and the book you need. A novel to remind us why the novel is a worthy pursuit. Brings to my mind Kesey's masterworks, but then much vaster landscapes of language--from lyrical prose using Chinese idiom and flourish to hard stark American muscled prose taking us to places never before ventured into by fiction that I have read. This novel ranges and more importantly spans from love to destitution to depravity to shell-shock, and shows us a city in the City of New York most of us have never seen. This is the book that will break your heart and make it a new heart, the one you need to have made to be human. This is the miracle of the decade in terms of fiction, and the first post-national masterpiece. Buy this book. Eat this book. I implore you to take this book into yourself.
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Preparation for the Next Life is a heartbreaking, urgent, forceful exploration of what it means to be an American today. It quietly and powerfully takes a hard look at class warfare. It demands the reader to face the fringes of society so easily ignored in a mammoth city like New York. Lish's characters are the victims of statelessness and Homeland Security, PTSD and the US military system, the prison-industrial complex and drug-slinging, hate-mongering, violence-prone gang culture. The thing about it is these people are beautiful. They are present. They compel us look more generously on the world, more critically at our own pain and struggles and desires and psyches. The grotesque and the gut-wrenching is mediated by the pure possibility and heart of the humans who inflict and are inflicted by these structures. And the tragic is not banal, but something like it; it is imminent and necessary. It affirms itself, almost religiously. I can confidently say I haven't read a better book about this new century, about the fallout from 9/11 that continues to shape our souls and cultural landscape. Lish's prose is unpretentious, it's both political and extraordinarily humane. Most of all this is a novel that is concerned with telling a captivating, frequently suspenseful story--one that might keep you up at night with its shapes of America's peripheries, the compulsion to take a long walk out of your neighborhood, considering the act of living.
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