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.

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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

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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

do not miss this one

Would you listen to Preparation for the Next Life again? Why?

This was one of the best books I have heard....ever. the reader's odd style aided in the story telling so much. I just loved this book, even though it was very depressing and sad. A look in to a apart of American life I have never heard about before.


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- Joanna

Book Details

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