Picked up George Saunders’s new novel Lincoln in the Bardo on Thursday and finished it yesterday. I can’t recommend it enough. It is an unconventional narrative structured around fragments from letters, histories, memoirs as well as the voices of three guides stuck between the living and the dead, who attempt to help a recently deceased Willie Lincoln and his grieving father. These three individuals, along with the other residents of the cemetery, refuse to acknowledge their predicament, but in attempting to help Willie to move beyond this state of limbo, they find the strength to confront their own personal demons.

I don’t want to give too much away. The book is about much more than the relationship between Willie and his father. In fact, I now see it as a meditation on many of the themes that Lincoln strikes in his Second Inaugural Address. Anyway, do yourself a favor and read this book You will not be disappointed.

9 comments add yours

  1. thanks for the recommendation, Kevin. What did you think of Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad?

      • Thanks, Kevin and James. I will get them both (failed to get Underground Railroad previously because it was sold out and new printing hadn’t arrived).

  2. I’ve read the reviews and seen the video previously but the book seems too unconventional to me and for me.

    • Definitely “unconventional” but that is a big part of its appeal. Take a chance.

  3. I picked it up and started it tonight. Probably wouldn’t have had you not mentioned it.

  4. I finally finished it (after a few fits and starts) and I think it’s definitely worth reading because it explores many different themes. I thank you again for recommending it and giving me that little extra push.

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