Atticus Lish's debut novel, Preparation for the Next Life (Tyrant Books), won the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for First Fiction, demonstrating that he waited 40 years to become a natural. He reveals his inspiration: from early kung fu movies that led him to learning Chinese in high school, to writers like Hemingway, Robert Stone, and Flannery O'Conner. We talk about how Lish wrote his ending first, so the novel could begin at a slow simmer and end like an exploding bomb.
Read an excerpt from Preparation for the Next Life.
Photo: Gregg Lewis