1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 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 inventedOne ofEntertainment ...
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1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 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 inventedOne ofEntertainment Weeklys 10 Best Books of 2017 So Far Longlisted for the Man Booker PrizeFebruary 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 returns, alone, to the crypt several times 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 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 Bardois an astonishingfeat 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 voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when weknow that everything we love must endPraise for Lincoln in the BardoA luminous feat of generosity and humanism. Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review A masterpiece. Zadie Smith Ingenious . . . Saunderswell on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twaincrafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows. Vogue Saunders is the most humane American writer working today. Harpers Magazinefrom via
An Amazon Best Book of February 2017: Lincoln in the Bardo is hilariously funny, horribly sad, and utterly surprising. If you can fight past an initial uncertainty about the identity of its narrators, you may find that its the best thing youve read in years. This first novel by acclaimed short-story-writer and essayist George Saunders (Tenth of December, The Brain-Dead Megaphone) will upend your expectations of what a novel should be. Saunders has said that Lincoln in the Bardo began as a play, and that sense of a drama gradually revealing itself through disparate voices remains in the works final form. The year is 1862. President Lincoln, already tormented by the knowledge that hes responsible for the deaths of thousands of young men on the battlefields of the Civil War, loses his beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, to typhoid. The plot begins after Willie is laid to rest in a cemetery near the White House, where, invisible to the living, ghosts linger, unwilling to relinquish this world for the next. Their bantering conversation, much of it concerned with earthly -- and earthy pleasures, counterbalances Lincolns abject sorrow. Saunders takes huge risks in this novel, and they pay off. His writing is virtuosic and best of all, its highs and lows are profoundly entertaining. You may hear echoes of Thornton Wilder, Beckett and even a little Chaucer, but Lincoln in the Bardo is peculiar and perfect unto itself. Some advice: dont try to read this one in a library. Youll be hooting with laughter when you arent wiping away your tears. --Sarah Harrison Smith, The Amazon Book Review