Lincoln in the Bardo

"Why, some asked, was a child riding a pony about in the pouring rain, without a coat?"

(by George Saunders).

Saunders’ first novel, a heroic retelling of the death and laying to rest of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, chops and hops, like a play or the flea on a dead man’s nose, commented on by a Greek chorus of the dead and the living.

Contrived though it is (the voices include the obligatory offended-against homosexual, mulatto slave and illiterate), Saunders gathers all together in a tender and mellifluous rotting pyre, at the centre of which Lincoln (handsome, homely, noble, ignoble, guilty, arrogant) burns, while others fly and roil like sparks around him. The enveloping Images of horror and grief are well-leavened by reflections on the beauty of the world and the goodness of redemption, and, best of all, by the hilarious, f—–g, G—–n, s—-y, a—–e  Baron couple.  Read it for those f—–s, if nothing else.

(photo by Mathew Brady)

(photo by Mathew Brady)


1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Janelle McCulloch

    March 23, 2017

    "...chops and hops"... Love that description. I did note the f-bombs throughout, but they weren't as bad as trying to understand what the f---k was going on. Eventually I got there. And I loved it. Although I still have questions for you, Miss Lesley...

    I really liked the fact that it forces you to stretch your imagination and think about things that we don't often discuss. It does make you consider life and all the question marks in it, which is what good books should do.

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