Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo

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 WarOn 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...

Details Lincoln in the Bardo

TitleLincoln in the Bardo
Release DateFeb 14th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
Number of pages343 pages
GenreHistorical Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Audiobook, Historical, Fantasy, Novels, Adult Fiction, Adult, Literature

Reviews Lincoln in the Bardo

  • Angela M
    The more I read reviews of this, the more convinced I am that this deserves 5 stars so I'm adding a star to my previous 4 stars . Other wise my review is unchanged.It's a beautiful and sad but a strangely told story, and the narrative is different from anything I've read . The back of the cover description tells a poignant detail about Lincoln which Saunders in the Q&A tells us was the thought that formed for him the heart of this story. At the t...
  • Elyse
    From the first day I saw that George Sanders had a new release--I kept walking. I had a lot of resistance to read George Sanders again. "The Tenth of December" was the number 1 best seller for months and months.....Everyone seemed to 'LOVE' it. OUTSTANDING they all said. NOT FOR ME....I didn't understand the hype. It was 'alright'.....but not 'wow' for me by any means. I remember thinking another 'lesser name' --- at the time --RISING today--was ...
  • Cheri
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!4.5 StarsHow does one review a book such as this one? No words could possibly truly convey the potential journey a reader is embarking on when they open this novel. This is certainly nothing like any other book I’ve read, in concept or in style. Before I requested this, I looked up several references to the definition of the bardo, both the Tibetan definition and how it’s meaning carries beyond the definition. Bardo is the ...
  • Diane S ☔
    Wow, this wasn't just reading a novel it was a true reading experience. Wholly inventive, imaginative, the amount of research staggering, something totally new and different. Will admit having some trouble in the beginning, couldn't see where the author was going with this, wondering if it was gong to progress, it did in a very interesting way. Not going to rehash the plot, the description only loosely defines this. The book is helped along by so...
  • Sam
    Lincoln in the Bardo is such a beautifully crystallized portrait of life, death, grief, and getting on, and really emphasizes our shared humanity in its unusual storytelling. I started and stopped in fits, but one massive read in a single sitting was the way for me to go on this, allowing it to crash and wash over me completely, and get acquainted with the style and be fully receptive to the ideas expressed here. Once submerged in the unique form...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”The rich notes of the Marine Band in the apartments below came to the sick-room in soft, subdued murmurs, like the wild, faint sobbing of far off spirits.” Keckley, op. cit. William Wallace Lincoln is sick. He is burning up with fever. His head is pounding to the beat of a song with a faster tempo than what he hears seeping through the floorboards from below. He...can’t...breath. It feels like a fat man is squatting on his chest. His fathe...
  • Taryn
    I had a complicated relationship with this book. The writing was exquisite and I was amazed at the brilliance of the author, but there were also long sections where I felt completely lost. The tide runs out but never runs in. The stones roll downhill but do not roll back up. What I'm about to write doesn't even begin to sum this book up! President Abraham Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son Willie passes away after an illness. However, Willie d...
  • Diane Barnes
    ADDITION TO REVIEW AFTER LISTENING TO AUDIOThis is the most unusual, incredible reading experience I have ever had. George Saunders is either a genius, or an other-worldly creature living among us and posing as an author.I will leave the book description to Goodreads and the book jacket. I will only say this: if you enter this world and let yourself be carried along, you will emerge a different reader at the end. Some of you may not be able to do...
  • Trish
    The form of this novel is what readers will notice first. It begins as a series of quotes from reporters’ notebooks, eyewitness accounts, historians using original sources, and we must assume, Civil War-era gossip rags, describing an 1862 White House party which a thousand or more people attended. To say the affair was elaborate understates the case. Apparently when a thousand hungry guests descended on the tables of food, the quantity was such...
  • Darwin8u
    "He came out of nothingness, took form, was loved, was always bound to return to nothingness."- George Saunders, Lincoln in the BardoAgain, I find myself wandering at night alone, reading grief literature. I'm not sure if I have just accidentally stumbled on my own special vein of grief literature or if this dark path has suddenly become more popular ("to hell with erotic fiction, let us read tales of the sad survivors"). But, here I am, writing ...
  • Jill
    One of my great passions in life is reading – and reviewing – books. But how to review this book? It renders me speechless and. I almost feel compelled to reduce my review to two words: “Read it.”Years ago, I learned, while visiting the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois, that Abraham Lincoln was so prostrated by grief after the death of his favorite son Willie that he visited the crypt for months afterwards, opening the coffin and s...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Imagine the historical research approach of someone like David McCullough, and pull those details into a novel that takes place almost entirely in a graveyard, ghosts and all (picture The Graveyard Book), and you have this novel. I was lucky to receive a review copy of the audiobook from the publisher, because I think this is the preferred format for the novel. Since George Saunders wrote the novel in 108 sections, with distinct voices, they deci...
  • Robin
    The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one's beloved's name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger.Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it. George Saunders has written a magnificent...
  • Liz
    I should have known. I really don't do well with the avant garde. I want a plot, I want a story. I want character development. This offers none of the above. I felt lost. Vague memories of Ionesco and Beckett kept cropping up as I tried to plough through this. The book alternates between reading like a thesis, full of quotes from “other” sources and then almost more like a play. Ghosts come and ghosts go. They each have their own little mini-...
  • Perry
    A Brilliant Benediction to the Perseverance and Endurance of the Human Spirit and for Abraham Lincoln, Universally Acknowledged as the Greatest President in U. S. historySet in the Washington, D.C. cemetery's "Bardo" (Tibetan term something akin to the more familiar Purgatory), Lincoln in the Bardo's analeptic narrative is driven by three vibrant primary characters:Hans Vollman, a charmingly gruff printer who carries about nude with a gigantic tu...
  • Phrynne
    This was one of the most unusual books I have ever read! I think it is what you would have to describe as a reading experience since it is told in multiple voices aided by constant footnotes attributing the text to its sources. So clever! And so much research. The author must have become an expert on Abraham Lincoln by the time he finished writing.Amazingly the whole fascinating book takes place over one night immediately after Lincoln's young so...
  • Peter Boyle
    "Great sobs choked his utterance. He buried his head in his hands, and his tall frame was convulsed with emotion."A master of the short story has finally graced us with his first novel. And my goodness, it has been worth the wait. Lincoln in the Bardo truly defies description - part historical fiction, part ghost story, told in a multitude of voices. It is refreshingly original, magnificently inventive and I'll be amazed if I read a better book t...
  • Rebbie
    Dnf @ 48%I'm still giving this 4 stars even though I failed to finish it twice, because the fault is my own and the book itself is genius. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it won the Pulitzer this year, or was at least nominated.I'm currently sick with strep throat and have been for over a week now, so it's impossible for me to keep up with this story due to the unique way it's written. I even tried starting completely over, but still didn't m...
  • Sarah
    I finished this book by accident, thinking there were 30 pages to go. I gasped and burst into tears; I wasn't ready to let go of the characters, wasn't ready to leave the world. I don't know how to put all my feelings into words here. The premise is entirely unique; the structure of the novel is unlike anything I've seen before; and the author's deft maneuvering of language and tone is unparalleled. I believe that: I can't think of another author...
  • Melanie
    "Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of v...
  • Matthew Quann
    For those not interested in a weird review style: I thought this was terrific, and it is absolutely worth your time. I came upon Lincoln in the Bardo as someone comes upon a house on fire—tentatively. Placing a hand to the embossed dust jacket and turning deckle-edged pages at random filled me with the sphincter-tightening dread, which I have previously equated to looking down at the earth from a significant height. It seemed as if the book wer...
  • Ron Charles
    The long wait for a novel from short-story genius George Saunders is finally over. And as anyone who knows Saunders’s work would expect, his first novel is a strikingly original production, a divisively odd book bound either to dazzle or alienate readers.Distinct from the poignant satires he has published in the New Yorker and elsewhere, “Lincoln in the Bardo” is an extended national ghost story, an erratically funny and piteous seance of g...
  • Laura
    2017-03-08! This is so unique in nature. One of the best audio's I have had the pleasure to listen to. I look forward to reading the hard copy. This is so different. It has it all....comedy, tragedy, drama.
  • Marilyn C.
    Imaginative, vulgar, humorous, but most of all the permeating theme in Lincoln in the Bardo was sadness.The year is 1862, almost a year into the Civil War, and Willie Lincoln has passed away. He is now in this bizarre purgatory called "The Bardo," where there are other ghostly apparitions who have still not gone on to the next step in their journey. All different walks of life are there, and George Saunders uses these other-worldly voices, with t...
  • Hadrian
    The thing would be won.Saunders' work views the world from a lens held too distant or too close -- it turns the subject upside down, distorts it, makes it blurred and delirious, but you recognize the outline. He writes about a Civil War theme park with historically inaccurate coolies, and he writes about suburban mothers who collect impoverished foreign children and string them up on the front lawn. The scenarios are, on the face of it, absurd, b...
  • Connie
    It's February 1862, and President Lincoln's nine-year-old son Willie has died. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, but his spirit is still in the "bardo", a transitional state between life and whatever comes next in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. The cemetery is full of spirits that talk about their lives, and also about President Lincoln's visits to the cemetery.The President comes alone on horseback in the middle of the night to see Willie again. H...
  • Mel
    I've read, and I've listened to Lincoln in the Bardo and will review referencing both formats.Some information that might be helpful to those struggling with the presentation of this little novel, since it seems to be a starting hiccup, even a source of contention for some, especially those listening to the audio version (fantastic choice, by the way). Much has, and will be written about the style Saunders has chosen for this magnificent ground ...
  • Lee
    One of the greatest/luckiest purchases of my life was pulling CivilWarLand in Bad Decline off the shelf at Micawber's Books in Princeton one evening in '97 or '98. I hadn't heard of the author and loved the first story I read so took a day off the next day and drove to the beach to read the rest in one long sandy sitting. Pastoralia followed a year or so later and deepened my love, but then came The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil and I start...
  • Mike W
    I almost want to break this review into two parts. One for those who know Saunders and one for those who’ll be experiencing him for the first time. What does it matter? Well, you’re about to hear and read a lot about this book, Lincoln in the Bardo, about Saunders himself (there was so much press with Tenth of December that I feel like he and I have hung out multiple times; that I know all his stories), and about his genius. Then, if you’ve...