Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

Audiobook CD - 2017
Average Rating:
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February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul.
Publisher: [New York] :, Penguin Random House Audio,, [2017]
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780553397574
Branch Call Number: CD FICTION SAU
Characteristics: 6 audio discs (7 1/2 hr.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in
digital,optical,rda
audio file,CD audio,rda

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bookishdl Jan 11, 2018

A difficult book to listen to due to the incredibly long list of characters but once you realise there are a handful of key ones to tune in to, it becomes easier. I would've liked to follow along with the hard copy, especially when the references were being made to actual letter extracts or commentaries (too many holds on the book).

The most unusual book I've read in terms of structure and content but very cleverly done. I enjoyed the interweaving of actual historical facts and events with the author's ghost story element and there are some quite brilliant pieces of prose littered throughout. It was sad, funny, irreverent, disturbing and poignant and it crept up on me; a bit like the tendrils that begin to cling to young Willie.

This story is lingering with me still and I feel I will be re-reading to fully absorb the multitude of messages contained therein.

t
tegan
Jan 06, 2018

This was a bookclub book for me. I'm not really into historical fiction, so I didn't get all the way through it. I almost wonder if this book would be better read, as it was quite confusing as an audiobook. It probably didn't help that I was listening to it at double speed, since I wasn't enjoying it, but trying to get through it. Ha. The one thing that was quite unique about this audiobook, is that there are seemingly hundreds of different readers.

LoganLib_JennyI Nov 27, 2017

George Saunders brings us a new take on historical fiction. Being an avid reader of non-fiction and fiction books, I loved the interspersed quotes and clips from people and media of the day. This novel shows how Lincoln wore the unenviable hat of US president (during a Civil War, no less) and the heavy cloak of grief for his favourite son president. It seemed too much for one human to bear and the crypt scenes were tear jerkers.
My only criticism was the unnecessary over-use of harsh swearing by the bardo characters at times. I am not a prude but it seemed more swearing than necessary to get across the anger/socio-economic status/opinion of the character who was speaking.

lindab2662 Aug 17, 2017

Listened to the audio when I heard that there were 166 voices contributing to this production. I was initially distracted by the continual references to footnotes but that was short lived. Saunders writes from eyewitness accounts of the tragic death of Willie Lincoln and the grief of his father, Abraham Lincoln. This book is part ghost story and part historical account of a grieving president while a nation looks on.

m
maipenrai
Jun 09, 2017

I wanted to like this book, but found the audiobook distracting because of citations. The cacophony of the dead was far too much a part of the story and detracted from focus on Lincoln and his grief over the loss of his beloved son. Disappointed. Bookwoman and Abby Tabby

m
mrmartino
May 09, 2017

This is one of the most difficult books on tape I have ever listened to. The continuous interruption of the reading to add in the reference makes it almost unlistenable. A recorded book should be read like one would read the book. When I read a book I do not stop after every quote to read the reference. This book is going back 2 discs in.

r
Revacard
Mar 05, 2017

There are a lot of bigly celebrities that read for this book. Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Bill Hader stand out in the book. I liked the concept of this book. It really takes you to what it was like during the this period of the United States. I did think the narrators citing works every couple sentences made it hard to get into the mood at the beginning.

c
Corinne65
Feb 24, 2017

Such a memorable experience! The beginning of the book has a strange format adding many quotes and references from history. These were precisely chosen and well woven together but nevertheless the citations were at first hard to get through. Im so glad I kept on reading! Soon the format changes and everything blends into a grand story told by many characters with unique perspectives. Listening to the audiobook is the best way to experience this book as the many voices really add to the story.

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