In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it.
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 11-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.
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 vJulianne 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 Narrator.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By L on 13-07-17
I liked the first part of the first chapter. After that I found the constant references totally stopped any kind of flow. This is not my kind of book and I returned it having failed to be pulled in.
32 of 35 people found this review helpful
By no on 27-07-17
Complete gibberish as far as I can tell
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
What will your next listen be?
Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?
Some of the narration is great - but I have no idea what they were narrating
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Mystification. I started it again twice thinking I might not have been concentrating whilst I was gardening or driving - but once they got past Willie's death it just gets sillier and sillier
Any additional comments?
I listen to and read a lot of "literary" fiction - but this is just a waste of time or too experimental for my brain
41 of 46 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 26-06-18
Just Too Depressing!
Well written, ok. Well read, yes. But just not a subject that should ever be written about. I do not want to read about a poor, innocent young boy suffering in death. A terrible, depressing, miserable, gruesome, nasty, hideous, repulsive book! Unless this is what you get off on, avoid.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Nichola on 26-02-18
Perfection, what more need I say except thank you
What more need I say, except thank you to the author and voices. I think I will listen again straight away.