Set in the underbelly of New York, Preparation for the Next Life exposes an America as seen from the fringes of society in devastating detail and destroys the myth of the American Dream through two of the most remarkable characters in contemporary fiction.
'This behemoth of a novel packs an emotional punch that will send you reeling…a disturbing and compelling picture of lives in the margins'.
'Into the field of post-9/11 literature wades America's latest literary darling, Atticus Lish…Lish was awarded the PEN/Faulkner award for this book. Those who have read it will agree with the decision'.
'Extraordinarily powerful…Lish's remarkable debut fuses raw realism with narrative poetry to memorable effect'.
'A stunning, brilliant novel...Every word, every encounter, rings true.'
'This book is a masterwork.'
'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.'
‘Powerful… Lish writes with rare confidence… he doesn't forget that a good love story should break your heart'
‘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'
‘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'
‘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'
‘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.'
‘Importan[t]…Lish excels at dialogue'
'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.'
‘Impressive.. Charged with breathless momentum… substantial and beguiling…This is, in the end, a profoundly political book'
‘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'
‘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'
‘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'
‘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,
‘The finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade.'
‘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.'
‘A tour de force of urban naturalism… a love story that's as bold and urgent as any you'll read this year.'
‘A stunning debut novel… Lish's prose is at once raw and disciplined, and every word feels necessary.'
‘The most relevant, and beautiful, novel of the year.'