Preparation for the Next Life

  • by Atticus Lish
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 15 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2015 - Winner of the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Atticus Lish's Preparation for the Next Life is not only striking in its tightly crafted, yet incredibly detailed prose, but in its heart-breaking portrayal of people both physically and emotionally displaced. To say I fell for this book - an unlikely love story between an undocumented Chinese Muslim immigrant and a recently returned Iraq War veteran - would be an understatement. This book carried me away like no other book this year. The characters are so vivid; their physicality and voices so distinct, I couldn't help sharing in their lostness. Beautifully narrated with heartfelt sincerity by Robertson Dean, this book demands your attention and deserves it. —Doug, Audible Editor


What the Critics Say

Winner of the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award
“Dizzying in its ambition and exhilarating in its triumph." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Preparation for the Next Life isn’t just the best novel I’ve read this year, it may 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)
"Perhaps the finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Beautiful and Heartbreaking

What a novel. The writing is fresh and unique, and its spare language reminded me of Hemingway. The author made me deeply care about these two strong characters, and I stopped what I was doing to finish listening to their story. I had no idea how it would end, and kept guessing as the tension slowly, carefully built to a climax. This is a book I will remember for a long time -- a rich story full of the sights, sounds and smells of New York, at times reminding me of Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" in its evocation of racial tension in the US melting pot. Most of all, these are two characters who, while they couldn't be more different from me, I could easily relate to, as their feelings of hope, despair, grief, and triumph reach to the very core of human experience. I am sure this will be made into a movie, but I doubt any movie could be as good as the book. Wonderful narration as well!
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- C. Farrell

Incredible craftsmanship.

Sometimes you see a house in a magazine that makes you stop and stare. It's true to itself down to the finest detail - a real architectural feat. Even though you may not love the style, you admire the craftsmanship and the level of precision and craftsmanship that went into creating it. That is precisely how I would describe this book.

It's covers some tough topics - like immigration and PTSD - just for starters. That's not new. What's new is the actual writing style. It's SO unique. There's a spareness to it that feels like everything has been boiled down to its most basic elements. The sights and sounds just come at you and it's up to you to interpret them. The way it's written makes you feel like you're seeing it for yourself and deciding what has emotional value.

This book gave me an understanding of a life I will never experience. I know it's been described as a love story, but I just didn't see it that way. For me, it was a book of survival and hope.

I really wondered about the narrator during the first few minutes. He sounds like an automaton. Then I understood it. He delivered this exactly the way it was written. Great choice in the end.

Though I can't say I loved this book - it made me too uncomfortable for that - I really admire the achievement. It is stunning. I think I'll just stop and stare a while.
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- B.J.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-14-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios