The War for Gloria

Atticus Lish


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Profile Books Ltd
6 April 2023
ISBN: 9781800812659
448 pages

From the publisher

From one of America's finest writers: a dramatic and heartbreaking novel about a mother and son's relationship threatened by illness and a father's malice

'A legendary writer entirely on his own account' Observer

'Stunningly good' Guardian

Gloria Goltz's intellectual ambitions are derailed when she meets Leonard at college. Self-taught, blue-collar, possessor of an aggressive intelligence, Leonard claims to hold the key to unlocking her potential. After making her pregnant, he disappears. Her son Corey grows up without a father, looking for a male role model ­- and restless, dreaming of a great adventure.

Instead, when Corey is fifteen, Gloria is diagnosed with motor neuron disease, and his estranged father - this man of domineering charisma and dubious moral character - returns. 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 progresses. And as Leonard's influence over son and mother grows, Corey must dismantle the myth of his father's genius and confront the evil that lurks beneath it.

Atticus Lish won a Pen/Faulkner award for his debut Preparation for the Next Life, a novel 'described as the finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade' in The New York Times. His second novel confirms Lish as a beguiling storyteller and a prose stylist of extraordinary emotional reach and beauty.