Lincoln in the bardo
Publication year: 2017
Media class: Hardback
Resource type: Physical
Additional information: 341 pages ; 25 cm
Total no. of loans: 2
Loans this year: 0
No. of reservations: 0
The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm - called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo - and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul.
Loved this book and would read again. It is a meditation on death and the regrets individuals have about the way they lived their lives with Buddhist themes around karma, samsara and attachment. It is beautifully written and frequently touching and sad- particularly the passages that cover Lincoln's distressed thoughts on the loss of his little boy. There are also moments of humour and the reader is left to drawer their own conclusions on where the 'residents' went wrong in their lives. Stories are told as factual without judgement. A book that stays in the mind long after it is finished and makes you evaluate where you are in your own life. Brilliant!
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