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Lincoln in the Bardo
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Archives > Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

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Sarah | 6 comments I knew that the new book by George Saunders would be good. I didn't know it would be magnificent. I loved the mix of the fantastical first-person account of residents of the cemetery where the president's son has recently been laid to rest, the excerpts from historical accounts, and a masterfully wrought Lincoln as grieving father and embattled president at the tomb of his child. I'm going to file this under either week 7 or 25.


Kathy | 2360 comments I read this unique book for week 25, a book about a famous historical figure, that figure being Abraham Lincoln. I agree with Sarah, the format of the book presents the story in such an interesting way. A wonderful book.

Goodreads summary:
The captivating first novel by the best-selling, National Book Award nominee George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War

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.

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.



Monica (mcosselman) | 49 comments I read this for Week 21: A magical realism novel. I listened to the audio version which featured around 166 different narrators. Quite a treat. This is a very unique book worth reading. I highly recommend the audio book.


message 4: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3784 comments Mod
I'm going to try to start listening to audiobooks on my commute instead of just the radio so that's a helpful recommendation, Monica!

Sometimes I have trouble with audiobooks since I zone out but the narrators sound interesting.


Sarah | 6 comments I read the book and then listened to the audio book as well. Such a great listening experience. This is probably the best book to come out this year.


Stacey D.  | 1754 comments I just finished reading this for Week 25: a book about a famous historical figure and was blown away by this unique story, too.

Saunders captures one tragic personal moment in time for Lincoln, which speculatively, could have helped shape his future decisions in the course of the Civil War. Although his private thoughts are never spoken aloud, the reader becomes entrenched in his thoughts. There comes a point in the book where Lincoln thinks that in order for humanity to change and for future generations to go forth in a more peaceful existence, blood must be shed and sadly, men must die. How horrible it must have been for him to live through his own overwhelming grief, while having to make rational, critical decisions for a nation torn apart by war, slavery and bloodshed.

The humor in the pathos was terrific and I loved the backstories of all the ghosts who roamed the Georgetown cemetery. I also loved how the spirits in the Bardo departed for the afterlife through the matterlightblooming phenomenon. Great book.


Angela | 390 comments I read this for 2019’s Week 10: a book featuring a historical figure. A wonderful, mesmerising read. I loved the narrative style, and found it very easy to follow. Lincoln’s grief for his lost child is palpable, and the background of the Civil War adds to the heartache. I strongly recommend this.


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