Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel - in its form and voice - completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. Willie finds himself in a strange purgatory-- the bardo-- where ghosts commisserate quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance ... and where a struggle erupts over his soul
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812995343
0812995341
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 25 cm

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bibliotom May 19, 2018

I have gleaned from experts on TV that ghosts are spirits of the dead who can't move on to the next plane of existence. In this way they are perfect exemplars of the Buddhist problem of attachment, the universal neurosis that is the unspoken subject of Saunders' novel. The "ghosts" here are stuck in the bardo because they won't let go of something in their lives, and in this way they are more like living human beings than the dead. The key to their escape from this perpetual twilight is compassion. There is no mention of Buddha in this book, but it's a wonderful example of how buddhism works in the real world, as imaginary and imaginative as this graveyard bardo is.

KateHillier May 14, 2018

That was an experience of a book. The format takes a little bit of getting used to but once I found my rhythm it was smooth sailing. Aside from the pain and gutpunching that the entire story as a whole is. Abraham Lincoln's young son, Willie, has died. He finds himself in an inbetween place with other spirits, who don't know or won't recognize their actual state of being. Meanwhile, in the living world, Lincoln grieves and a war goes on. The grief, and death, and destruction and penance being taken is heartbreaking. There are bits of humour throughout but it almost seems more tragic than funny.

I really enjoyed this. I guarantee you've never read anything like it.

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LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Read and reflect.

x
xiaojunbpl12
Apr 27, 2018

It took me 50 pages to get used to the narrative structure, and I constantly referred to the signature first at the bottom of each paragraph/long-section/short-line voiced.

A big fan of his writing, I still tarry over the threshold he created, wish to prolong the effect. A thrill and joy to experience through reading the only power generated by fiction, uniquely by G. Saunders.

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Nanabelle_5
Apr 15, 2018

Add to Tablet

p
peggysnorf
Apr 12, 2018

Awful book.

j
JANET FLAPAN
Apr 07, 2018

Stick with it, the structure can be confusing but it's so original and creative. I loved it and think it will inspire other writers to try new ideas. Based partly on history and partly on philosophy and Eastern religious ideas.

s
smbeust
Apr 02, 2018

I loved this book. It reminds me of one of my favorites, by Sherri Reynolds, "A Gracious Plenty". I have always loved ghost stories since being very young, but these two books about people who are talking to one another in their cemeteries, fascinate me.

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maggie0287
Mar 22, 2018

I was excited to finally get this book after reading all the hype, and was sorely disappointed. The story is incredibly disjointed, jumping between snippets from publications and fictional characters within the book, often without any import and always without punctuation. I could not get into the story or the characters, and after about a 90 minutes of reading I resorted to skimming to just get through it.

j
JAL49
Mar 21, 2018

I recommend listening to the audio of this book before reading it. With the audio you begin to understand much more quickly who is speaking and what the tone of the story is. Some of the more experimental aspects of the book on the page (lack of punctuation, lack of identification of who is speaking) are less distracting, and the narrative is more navigable. I absolutely loved this book once I relaxed and let what was mysterious about it (why are these people stuck in this place? are these real quotations from real journals?) unfold at its own pace. Saunders is not afraid to sail into unchartered waters in terms of storytelling. If you're willing to sail alongside him, you'll ultimately find his story to be heart-wrenching and beautiful, though not conventional. The confusion you sometimes experience is the confusion of the characters, too - you sometimes ask, as they do, "What is happening here?" You'll either find it unnerving or exciting.

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LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Other: Topics: Death, super natural.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Intense empathetic scenes.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Coarse Language: Moderate language.

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LThomas_Library
May 04, 2018

LThomas_Library thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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