Atticus Lish, left, and Giancarlo DiTrapano, the editor of Tyrant Books. (Photo by Aaron Adler for The New York Observer)

The Son Also Writes It: Atticus Lish’s Roundabout Path to Literary Success

The bust-filled second floor at the Center for Fiction was at capacity last Thursday to hear a reading by Atticus Lish—an ex-Marine, a translator of technical Chinese texts, and now one of the most acclaimed debut novelists of the year—and at the start of the questions period, an older man raised his hand. He had a shock of white hair and was wearing a cream sweater and asked about chapter 42, specifically about an act of shocking violence that occurs toward the end of the novel. He had two very good reasons to ask about the structure of the narrative of the novel: The old man was Gordon Lish—the man credited for wholly shaping the prose style and feel of Raymond Carver’s oracular stories and in general one of the most celebrated fiction editors alive—and he is also Atticus’s father.

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