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Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George…

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel (2017)

by George Saunders

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
That was NOT what I expected at all. And I think that's a good thing. I was expecting sort of a blend of historical fiction and some magical realism, not the dead talking their heads off in the metaphysical in-between with Lincoln himself being a critical character but in no way the main character. Nor Willie Lincoln, neither. It was actually rather refreshing to have a book that went with such a high-concept idea, in a totally weird stylistic manner, not be unreadable. Like, usually when you get literary fiction like this, it's tediously about Sad White People Having Midlife Crises. Instead, Saunders goes whole-hog where Willie's death is a catalyst and a metaphor about the Civil War and fighting the good fight (sort of) and there's so much more at stake than in your usual allegorical high lit-fic piece.

Not to mention it's surprisingly funny in parts and like I said, incredibly readable if you have the ability to be like "ohhh, it's the dead speaking to us in this kind of stasis because they aren't ready to go yet, but also with all these little paragraphs from the actual history going around, got it" with the style. If you can't get past that, yeah, you're not going to like this book, but I totally got it and I liked it a lot. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
One of those books that you read really fast and then spend the next few months thinking about. I am unable to summarize it here - I tried, and all I can do is spout complimentary adjectives. Outstanding, entertaining, insightful. A great book. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
A beautiful, quirky and heart-breaking novel. Quite a surprise. In a good way. ( )
  Niecierpek | Sep 11, 2018 |
In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's son Willie dies of a fever. Lincoln is almost overwhelmed as he struggles with his personal grief as well as his national grief over the countless deaths of those over whom he is commander in chief.

We see this from the perspective of the ghosts that inhabit the graveyard where young Willy lies and where Abraham Lincoln visits by night. The ghosts all have their stories, which they carry with them into death and affect their physical manifestations.

I thought this was a moving portrait of Lincoln's grief and an interesting look at the Bardo, which according toa dictionary.com definition is ' a Tibetan Buddhism word for a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person's conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death'.

However, having several times seen the play Our Town which follows a newly deceased young wife and the other inhabitants of a grave yard, I didn't think this was quite as innovative as others have commented.

I listened to the audiobook and absolutely loved the ensemble cast with 166 readers including David Sedaris, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarndon and so many more. Apparently the publisher has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for 'The Largest Cast for an Audiobook'. ( )
  streamsong | Sep 6, 2018 |
there is a good story here, but alas it is buried under six feet of gimmicks
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saunders, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brownstein, CarrieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cheadle, DonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dennings, KatNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunham, LenaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hader, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
July, Miranda Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karr, MaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Offerman, NickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sedaris, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiller, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Caitlin and Alena
First words
On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen.
I will never forget those solemn moments—genius and greatness weeping over the love's lost idol.
Having never loved or been loved in that previous place, they were frozen here in a youthful state of perpetual emotional vacuity; interested only in freedom, profligacy, and high-jinks, railing against any limitation or commitment whatsoever.
In truth, we were bored, so very bored, so continually bored.
Birds being distrustful of our ilk.
Any admiration we might once have felt for their endurance had long since devolved into revulsion.
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Book description
Haiku summary
Unread I hold it,
a new Saunders book is come.
My evening expands.

No descriptions found.

From the seed of historical truth that is the death of President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son Willie, George Saunders spins a "story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm ... 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"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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