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WINNER THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017
A NO. 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2017
`It would be an understatement to call this novel an extraordinary tour de force' 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?
George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short-story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggen-heim fellowships and the PEN/Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.
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