In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any otherfor no one but Saunders could conceive it.February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincolns beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. My poor boy, he was too good for this earth, the president says at the time. God has called him home. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boys body.From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional statecalled, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardoa monumental struggle erupts over young Willies soul.Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fictions ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voicesliving and dead, historical and inventedto ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?...
|Title||:||Lincoln in the Bardo|
|Number of Pages||:||343 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Lincoln » Lincoln in the Bardo|
Lincoln in the Bardo Reviews
Imagine the historical research approach of someone like David McCullough, and pull those details into a novel that takes place almost entirely in a graveyard, ghosts and all (picture The Graveyard Book), and you have this novel. I was lucky to receive a review copy of the audiobook from the publisher, because I think this is the preferred format for the novel.
Since George Saunders wrote the novel in 108 sections, with distinct voices, they decided to use 166 voices in the recording (Time Magaz ...more
This is an intriguing book; one that is very inventive and yet its basic premise is based on strong possibilities, if not probabilities. There are brief historical excerpts throughout from various sources that are amazing in that they outline stronger than ever that “eye witness” testimony is pretty much wasted without a camera to back it up. For example, on a historically memorable night 5 or 10 people can look at the same night sky and see no moon at all, or a moon – but in about 5 or 6 differ ...more
Grief knows no limits. Its ever-growing tendrils seek out the most tender of hearts. It resides with the weight of its heaviness to such a state that breathing full, cleansing breaths is almost impossible.
"The terror and consternation of the Presidential couple may be imagined by anyone who has ever loved a child, and suffered that dread intimation common to all parents, that Fate may not hold that life in as high a regard, and may dispose of it at will."
February of 1862 brings with it an end to ...more
Like a cosmic chorus in 'cordial unison' under brocades of blue, twinkling white willows and a rain of red glare
George Saunders' brilliant literary achievement is the ideal book for the Fourth of July in profoundly reminding us of our union as citizens of the United States of America, this great nation created by our forefathers' Declaration of Independence from the "absolute Despotism," "long train of abuses and usurpations" and "invasions on the rights of the people" by the then "King of Great ...more
"And if you go.. chasing rabbits,
and you know you're.. going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
has given you the call."
The unusual format, like oddly punctuated and inverted lines of a play, was fine by me. It just took some adjustment, and then it was easy to read.
But the random, psychedelic-seeming thought trains were way too artsy for me, and the periodic sophomoric vulgarity struck me as stupid (sorry). I did not titter for an instant. There was definitely a plot to follow, but lik ...more
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
"He came out of nothingness, took form, was loved, was always bound to return to nothingness."
- George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
Again, I find myself wandering at night alone, reading grief literature. I'm not sure if I have just accidentally stumbled on my own special vein of grief literature or if this dark path has suddenly become more popular ("to hell with erotic fiction, let us read tales of the sad survivors"). But, here I am, writing another transuding review of another sad book. No. ...more
Wow, this wasn't just reading a novel it was a true reading experience. Wholly inventive, imaginative, the amount of research staggering, something totally new and different. Will admit having some trouble in the beginning, couldn't see where the author was going with this, wondering if it was gong to progress, it did in a very interesting way. Not going to rehash the plot, the description only loosely defines this. The book is helped along by some very unusual narrators, Vollmam and Bevins, alo ...more