Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
52
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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 a story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its 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.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812995343
0812995341
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Man Booker Prize

List - Best of 2017
RCPL_Librarians Nov 26, 2017

FICTION


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l
legadillo
Feb 22, 2018

I'm not a fan of experimental punctuation, but about a third of the way into the book, I got the rhythm of it and I think it works.

m
MiriamS12345
Feb 21, 2018

Disjointed, artsy, meaningless. I was listening to this book on CD and gave up after one disk.

m
meljeanthomas
Feb 19, 2018

I found this book unreadable. I was so looking forward to it as it is a compelling story idea and he is a great writer but I did not even finish it. And I finish everything!

Weird and wonderful. I recommend it, but I'm not sure why. Although I have no idea who is directing the movie, I'm secretly hoping for Tim Burton. So many folks compare this to the Spoon River Anthology, but that book felt so serious and dry. This is nothing like that--it's way more acid trip than historical fiction!

smc_1 Feb 17, 2018

Loved this complex, but somehow quite simple, imaginative, utterly compelling novel. The writing and voices are transporting - melancholic, moving, masterful.

DBRL_ReginaF Feb 13, 2018

I really don't even know how I feel about this one. It was weird. Really weird. It was incredibly confusing a lot of the times but it was also brilliant some of the time.

a
aliccar87
Feb 01, 2018

I absolutely loved the format of this book. The method in which Saunders unravels this story is unlike anything I've ever read. This is a true historical fiction in that he blends nonfiction excerpts from historical writings with the dialogue and story line of his fictional characters. Saunders clearly performed an extensive amount of research while writing this book. "Lincoln in the Bardo" is both fascinating and a sentimental tribute to President Lincoln and his son, Willie. Truly an exceptional piece of literature!

l
lisahiromi
Jan 24, 2018

I don't understand why this book is so highly recommended. The writing style was way too choppy, and I had a hard time following the story. I wanted to give up after about a third of the way through, but pressed on. Though the second half was better, I definitely wish I had skipped this books.

r
ronandlynda
Jan 10, 2018

#2 on Entertainment Weekly's Best Books of 2017

m
mclarjh
Jan 02, 2018

The form of the ¨novel¨ should appeal to the twitter set. But why isn´t there a story?

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