Lincoln in the Bardo (Hardcover)
Wow! I’m so happy I discovered this book before it was published because it came out last week it went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is the most creative, unusual, beautifully written book I have read in a while. Abraham Lincoln and his wife had a son whose death was devastating. There are historical accounts of Lincoln going to his crypt and cradling the corpse of their beloved boy. This historical fact is intertwined with the incredible story of the boy’s spirit remaining trapped in the Bardo because his father won’t let him go. I could go on, but you must read it to appreciate the creative brilliance!
-Recommended by Kim— From March 2017 Staff Picks
I would like to start off by saying that this book is definitely one of the most creative and experimental works of fiction that I have ever read. With a cast of 166 characters, this book has a unique narrative unlike any other.
The year is 1862, and the American people are learning just how bloody and deadly the Civil War is becoming. At home, President Lincoln and his family are facing an even more personal struggle: The devastating death of their 11-year-old son, Willie. Many newspapers from that time report that Lincoln, whose already existing depression and mental illness only deepened after the loss of his son, returned to the crypt several times to hold his boy's body.
Using this historical truth, Saunders has created a beautifully imaginative story of love, loss and letting go. Willie finds himself trapped in a sort of purgatory, inhabited by many ghosts and spirits that attempt to help him move on, despite his father’s inability to let go. This book is shocking, bizarre, and above all, moving.
This novel recently was awarded the 2017 Man Booker Prize, and it more than deserves it.— From Book Review: Go Back in Time with 3 Historical Fiction Titles
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented
Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, USA Today, and Maureen Corrigan, NPR - One of Time's Ten Best Novels of the Year - A New York Times Notable Book
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 Lincoln's 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 returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy's 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 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 state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's 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 fiction's 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 voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? "A luminous feat of generosity and humanism."--Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review "A masterpiece."--Zadie Smith
About the Author
George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and was included in Time's list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.