Q&A With Atticus Lish
Earlier this month, Atticus Lish launched his first novel, Preparation for the Next Life at Book Culture on Columbus. Lish was joined in conversation with Lynn Lurie, author of Quick Kills and Corner of the Dead. We would like to thank both authors for taking the time to share their work and hope you enjoy the following Q&A with Lish.
How did you come to write Preparation for the Next Life?
Distress over post-9/11 America: the invasion of Iraq, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, hooding, waterboarding, indefinite detention, prisoner abuse, and the plight of undocumented immigrants caught up in immigration sweeps; combined with a morbid fascination with war and especially the effect of war on the psyche of the combatant; combined with two powerful sources of inspiration: the landscape of Central Asia–deserts, mountains, vineyards–and the landscape of New York, from the industrial outskirts to the extended immigrant neighborhood along Roosevelt Avenue–Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing–and down to Ozone Park, Jamaica and beyond. A migrant’s view of the world–walking on the highways, taking buses, crossing the border–from one country to the next, from rural to urban, mountain to desert, life to death.
What are you currently reading?
National Geographic magazines, staring at pictures of amoebas. I want to read Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me.
Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?
I don’t have a single favorite book, but one book that stands out to me as a true-crime masterpiece is People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry. Parry puts chills in my spine. The very title of the book, which is both perfectly logical and yet never fully explained, is an example of his gift for capturing horror.
Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?
I regret to say that I am not up on what is coming out–I’m very uninformed–so I don’t know what to look forward to. I’m always looking forward to Joseph Wambaugh‘s next book.
What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I’m working on a second novel, but I’m going to respectfully decline to say anything much about it for now.