Ignacio Peña's Reviews > Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
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really liked it

George Saunders is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers of the short story form, second perhaps only to Flannery O'Connor's writing; so my excitement for this novel has been high, and it took priority in my reading pile. I was very excited to see what such an established writer creates as a first novel, and I can safely say that it was unexpected, inspired, and an excellent read. Saunders' wit and distinct voice shines throughout the novel, and he has written a book where his strengths of slipping into a myriad of different characters is at work in a fascinating way. To put it simply: I was curious to see what a traditional novel look like by a writer like him. The answer: it looks like nothing I've read before.

The story-telling device is a clever one that works incredibly well within the story's historical context, and while I found myself resisting it at the very start, that resistance was itself very brief before I realized how much it worked. Told in fictional abstracts of historical accounts of both the living and the dead, the overall story is cobbled together to create a tapestry of the grief surrounding the loss of Abraham Lincoln's son. As is the strength of his writing, the story goes beyond the scope of this event and manages to extend the story's empathetic range to what death does to all sorts of folk, and the regret that comes with the end of one's life. Saunders manages to do quite a few interesting things with the pacing of the novel, and often the result is playful, insightful, and harrowing; other times, however, it does hurt the book. It's weaknesses in this regard aren't enough to detract the overall excellence of his novel, and I'd encourage everyone to read this when they can. It is an exciting novel by an exciting writer, and I can't wait to see what he does next.
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Reading Progress

January 4, 2017 – Shelved
January 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 25, 2017 – Started Reading
March 5, 2017 – Finished Reading

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