Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

A Novel

Book - 2018
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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. 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?" -- Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2018.
Copyright Date: ♭2017.
ISBN: 9780812985405
Characteristics: 350 pages ;,21 cm.


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LCPL_Cathy Nov 06, 2020

I sometimes have a hard time reviewing a book that I really loved or an author that I highly respect because I’m afraid that I won’t do them justice so here, I’ll just say that I loved this beautiful book so much and George Saunders is one of my favorite authors.

Nov 01, 2020

Total waste of time. Have no idea what this author is trying to do. Can not call this a "novel"; just a crazy bunch of ridiculous quotes.

Aug 07, 2020

Highly creative and entertaining. Unique. President Lincoln's beloved young son, Willie, dies and is buried in Georgetown cemetery. He is met there by a number of interesting characters, all of them existing in the "bardo", a state of incomplete transition. The ghosts quarrel, compete, express themselves, provide us with humorous moments and insights into their lives "before". The final section of the novel is particularly moving and deeply human.

Jul 16, 2020

At first a patchwork of citations and ghost or spirit dialogues. As time passes ghosts come to terms with their predicament, their lives lived and when ready they pass onto the next realm. A tale experimental and refreshing in a way, didn't come together as it was a graveyard's lingering souls' cacophany, a variety of voices that only found worthwhile moments of meaning at the intervals where the cast of ghosts' issues resolved with their contentment and ascent. As in life and death amongst the blathering there are some gleamings to be found. Perhaps, a moral or two is thrown around. Audio book is read by a very impressive cast of comedians, but the tale lacked humor and glib was an inadequate substitution.

multcolib_susannel Jun 30, 2020

From the time you open this book to the time you slam it shut, your brain will be taken on a wild rollercoaster ride through a cemetery where some occupants are living and some dead, but all want to tell their story!

Feb 22, 2020

I wanted to like this book, but found the audiobook distracting because of citations. The cacophony of the dead was far too much a part of the story and detracted from focus on Lincoln and his grief over the loss of his beloved son. Disappointed. Bookwoman and Abby Tabby

Dec 21, 2019

Unreadable. Not experimental, just unreadable.

Sep 06, 2019

Interesting read. Try the "Afterlife of George Cartright " Hell can be a variation of things.

Aug 18, 2019

I chose this book as my "Award Winner" for the Adult Reading Program. It WAS a winner. I'd not heard of the Bardo ( a liminal state between death and rebirth in Tibetan tradition) before, and George Saunders explores it vividly in this book. The references to, and quotes from history, help ground the story in some reality, while the characters' experiences are fantastical. This book is moving, entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable.

Aug 02, 2019

Saunders has long been a master of short-form surrealistic satire, and now he has proved equally adept with this longer work. He has, in fact, invented a new form of novel, combining historical documents with imaginative forays into worlds of grief and loss. As with any of Saunders work, these excursions into the realm of fantasy provide opportunities for reflections on real-world issues. Saunders here has made a powerful statement about the the risks of attachment and denial, with what is for him an ultimately hopeful message.

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May 05, 2018

Other: Topics: Death, super natural.

May 05, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Intense empathetic scenes.

May 05, 2018

Coarse Language: Moderate language.

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May 04, 2018

LThomas_Library thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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JCLChrisK Oct 17, 2018

All were in sorrow, or had been, or soon would be. It was the nature of things. Though on the surface it seemed every person was different, this was not true. At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering, limited beings, perennially outmatched by circumstances, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces.


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