Lincoln In The Bardo – George Saunders


Abraham Lincoln spends a night in his son’s tomb, a place populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead.

◉ “Told through footnoted attribution derived from various texts, speeches or dialogue, Lincoln In The Bardo can be difficult to follow. It requires a type of surrender from the reader, to trust in the author. Because of this narrative style this is unlike any book I’ve read. Saunders has created his own style and this innovation combines with his innate sense for emotional storytelling that is never glib.

“I attended a session with George Saunders at this year’s Auckland Writer’s Festival, and I was blown away by his intelligence and creativity and by how he combined historical context and the supernatural so seamlessly. It was clear he had injected a range of constructions into every word of this book. Someone who paves their own way instead of following in the footsteps of others certainly receives my respect.” – Rachel

◉ “I read the first few chapters of Lincoln in the Bardo and increasingly lost patience with the author as I struggled to understand what the hell was going on. Had this not been a Man Booker shortlister I wouldn’t have persevered.

“I’ve never experienced full grief (other than my cats dying; RIP Jackie, Ben & Watson) so cannot pass judgement on how well this was portrayed, but I found it gut-wrenching and the feeling of the loss and devastation experienced by Lincoln has stayed with me for weeks.

“However I would much rather have read a book that had explored this in a more conventional way, rather than the author trying to be clever and funny with his different writing styles and approaches. The previous Man Booker shortlister this book reminded me most of: Darkmans by Nicola Barker.” – Suzy

Published 2017
Random House
343 pages

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