Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Published by Random House on February 14th 2017
Pages: 343
ISBN: 0812995341
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three-half-stars

“My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,”

This is a strangely interesting book. This was a hard book for me to rate. There were parts that I really enjoyed and parts that I did not. Also, while reading this book, I thought of Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” were ghost come out and night and talk. I also thought of Shakespeare while reading this book mainly due to the writing format feeling like that of a play.

Abraham Lincoln’s son,Willie, lies gravely ill while his parent’s party wages on downstairs. Ultimately Willie passes away and is laid to rest in a Georgetown Cemetery. Reports indicate that Lincoln returned to the boy’s crypt multiple times to sit with his son’s body. After all, he is the Presdient and can’t really grieve openly can he? He must slip away at night to grieve the loss of his child while his wife slowly loses her grip on reality as grief consumes her.

The cemetery is not so quiet at night. There are those who are “Stuck” between being deceased (do all of them know they are dead? No, not all!) and the afterlife. This book is told over the course of one night. There are a lot of characters who voice their thought, feelings, and emotions. Over the course of the night, Willie see’s his father and spends some time with him, watching as his father grieves. Should Willie stay or should he go?

This book was unique and very creative. It did take some time for me to get used to the format. Again, at times it felt like I was reading a Shakespearean play. There are some parts that are very descriptive especially the parts about Lincoln being hunched over with grief and that Lincoln had “The saddest eyes of any human being that I have ever seen.”

This was an interesting book. I can honestly say that it was not what I was entirely expecting. This is a book that I had to sit and think about it after I finished reading. I find that as I reflect on it, I realize that I liked it more than I thought I did at the time I was reading it. I feel this is a book that people will either love or think is just so-so. I believe the format of the book, not the story, will be what turns readers off from the book.

three-half-stars