Southern Indies Recommend: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
George Saunders's first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, has Southern indie booksellers swooning. The author of widely acclaimed story collections (Tenth of December) and essays (The Braindead Megaphone), Saunders ventures into novelistic territory with his richly imagined story of a grieving Abraham Lincoln surrounded by a vivid cast of historical and invented characters. Part historical fiction, part ghost story, part fantasy, part philosophical musing, and wholly original, Lincoln in the Bardo is by turns hilarious, terrifying, and deeply moving, and tailor-made for Southern readers.
Read what some indie booksellers have to say below, and check out the author appearance links to see if Saunders is visiting a bookstore near you.
From Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC:
Sarah: It isn't every day--OK, it's actually never happened before--that on the same day, an hour apart, two of our staff climbed the stairs to tell me they just finished the best book they have read in years and that they bawled like babies while reading it. George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House $28) went on sale yesterday and we have a limited number of signed copies available. The audio version ($35) is also extraordinary, with a 166 person cast featuring writers, actors, and musicians including David Sedaris, Lena Dunham and Don Cheadle.
Matt: Thanks to my old friend David Bowie I was familiar with the concept of the bardo, and I was already a fan of George Saunders. So I was already curious - but slightly nervous - on my approach to Lincoln in the Bardo. This novel outstrips all worries and expectations! It's a pure triumph on every level. Encompassing religious thought, actual-and-subtly-revised historical fact, horror, science fiction and magical fiction tropes, family drama, and sheer creative force of will, Lincoln in the Bardo made me consider my own life on new terms, and the experience was effortless, pleasurable, eye-opening, refreshing. Don't let the visibly odd format, similar to an oral history, put you off. Dive right in and see the wonderful world we live in. Dream of a new one. High-concept, low stress, this is a total keeper I'll read often.
Mamie: I want everyone in the world to read this book. It is the most beautiful book I’ve read in ages―ever? It took me a few pages to grasp what was going on, but once I did, the language, the characters, the historical data, and the setting all combined to keep me in my seat until I’d read every heart-wrenching page. According to Tibetan tradition, the bardo is the place where we go after our death until we are born into our next life. It is in the bardo that a chorus of characters in the Greek tradition observes Abraham Lincoln mourn the death of his son, Willie. Every book club, every high school and college student of literature, everyone who appreciates exquisite writing and deep emotion will fall in love with Lincoln in the Bardo. (The book is the March selection for the Signed First Editions Club.)
From Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC:
Erica: What a remarkable novel. One oughtn't feel the need to compare but what the hell: here is Margaret Atwood's fearlessness, Cormac McCarthy's grandeur, Allan Gurganus's joie de vivre. How is it that something this new, this startling, this BIG can also be heartmattermoving (just to riff a little on the novel--meant in the best way possible.) I'm the only human being on the planet earth who didn't swoon over Tenth of December, but I'm swooning, now, boy. This novel is one of the Great Civil War novels but I wish I hadn't written that because the basket of literary deplorables might could pigeonhole it and if they do, they're headed to the Bardo, bigtime. I finished it last night and today I'm going to read it all over again. Thanks, George Saunders.
George Saunders | Southern Indie Reading & Signing Schedule
Tue Feb 21 5:00pm
Wed Feb 22 5:00pm
Thu Feb 23 5:00pm
Fri Feb 24 6:30pm