September 10, 2021

Atticus Lish

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes acclaimed novelist ATTICUS LISH—author of the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning Preparation for the Next Life—for a discussion of his latest novel, The War for Gloria. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning journalist and academic DUNCAN WHITE, author of Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War.


Corey Goltz grows up in the working-class outskirts of Boston as the only child of Gloria, whose ambitions were derailed early but who has always given her son everything she can. Corey, restless, dreams of leaving home for a great adventure.

Instead, when he is fifteen, the world comes crashing down upon him, when Gloria is diagnosed with ALS and, too late, his estranged father, Leonard—a man of great charisma but dubious moral character—reenters the picture. Determined to be his mother’s hero at any cost, Corey begins shouldering responsibility for her expensive medical care, pushing himself to his physical and emotional limits as her disease cruelly progresses. And as Leonard’s influence over Corey grows, Corey must dismantle the myth of his father’s genius and confront the evil that lurks beneath it.

Gritty, visceral, and profoundly stirring, The War for Gloria tells the story of a young man, straddling childhood and adulthood, whose yearning to protect his mother requires him to risk destroying his father. An indelible work from a strikingly original voice in American fiction.

About Author(s)

Atticus Lish is the author of Preparation for the Next Life, which won the 2015 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the 2016 Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine. His latest novel, The War for Gloria, will be published by Knopf in September 2021.

Duncan White is a journalist and academic who combines his position as Assistant Director of Studies in History & Literature at Harvard University with his role as lead book reviewer for the Daily Telegraph. He is the author of Vladimir Nabokov: Late Modernism, the Cold War and the Literary Marketplace. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.