Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2017
Average Rating:
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The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and inventedFebruary 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 returns, alone, to the crypt several times 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 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.Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders' family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL "DASH" COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O'Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY "PERFESSER" LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your NarratorPraise for George Saunders "No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time."--Khaled Hosseini"Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does."--Junot Díaz "George Saunders is a complete original. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity."--Dave Eggers "Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this...
Publisher: [New York] :, Penguin Random House Audio,, [2017]
New York : Random House Audio, 2017
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780553397581
0553397583
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file (7 hr., 29 min., 24 sec.)) :,digital
audio file, rda
digital, rda
Additional Contributors: Sedaris, David
Offerman, Nick 1970-

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e
Einer2
Mar 21, 2018

Audio version was even more difficult to get into than the print version-I tried both and finished neither.

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.

m
Mooseum
Dec 04, 2017

Is giving this audiobook three stars a cop-out? That this book is non-linear isn't what confused me, nor that it was read by many different unidentified and sometimes famous voices. There was some sort of disjointedness which kept throwing me off. It probably isn't even important to try to keep the thread of the story in the back of one's mind. The "op-sits" made me think that I wasn't paying enough attention to know what the original work that was mentioned could be.

A close friend loved this book, and listening to Michael Silverblatt on KCRW's Bookworm talk with George Saunders made me want to read/listen to this book.

However, I join the minority. Saying that I didn't like this book is too strong. It was simply perplexing.

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.

lindab1111 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.

multcolib_alisonk Mar 01, 2017

The story of a beloved boy occupying the space between life and death is astonishing, and painful, and very hard to read - or listen to, as the case may be. The cast of characters performing the story do a meticulous job of portraying the sorrows and degradation of the living and the dead. The problem with audio books is that you can't skim through the more difficult passages, and so the listener has to give herself up to the horrors described by the characters - an interesting parallel to our uneasy relationship with our own mortality.

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