East Markham Book Club
Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders


A Story of Love After Death
'A masterpiece' Zadie Smith
'Extraordinary' Daily Mail
'Breathtaking' Observer
'A tour de force' The Sunday Times

The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War.

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.

Unfolding over a single night, Lincoln in the Bardo is written with George Saunders' inimitable humour, pathos and grace. Here he invents an exhilarating new form, and is confirmed as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Deploying a theatrical, kaleidoscopic panoply of voices - living and dead, historical and fictional - Lincoln in the Bardo poses a timeless question: how do we live and love when we know that everything we hold dear must end?

Next Meeting Sunday 21st January 2018 at 7.30pm

Club Opinion
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. As an award-winning book (the Man Booker Prize 2017), we weren’t sure what we’d find and the thoughts of our readers’ were widely varying.

The style of writing used for the novel is unique, to say the least, as Saunders has used a mixture of quotes from historical literature and fictional narratives from the characters. The ideas originating from the book make for very interesting discussion but the general consensus is that if you’re a fan of a straightforward read, this probably isn’t for you. It needs a bit of concentration, some uninterrupted reading time and an imaginative mind. The group was split right down the middle, equally loving and hating it – a real ‘Marmite’ book!

BookLore Reviews
Review by Nigel (310118) Rating (9/10)

Buy this book at Amazon.co.uk Buy this book at Amazon.co.uk Buy this book at Amazon.co.uk