Lincoln in the Bardo (Paperback)
  • Lincoln in the Bardo (Paperback)

Lincoln in the Bardo (Paperback)

Paperback 368 Pages
Published: 08/02/2018
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Waterstones Says

Set at the dawn of the American Civil War, Saunders’ masterpiece is at once a moving tale of grief and a meditation on a country in flux and at war with itself.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2017

Shortlisted for the Golden Man Booker 2018

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2017

Read a Waterstones exclusive article on the historical context to Lincoln in the Bardo, with recommended further reading about the American Civil War

At the dawn of the Civil War Abraham Lincoln nurses a very private grief.

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: electric, 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. Inventing an exhilarating new form, Saunders confirms his status 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?

Arguably the best American short story writer of his generation, George Saunder’s mantelpiece must be groaning under the weight of awards. His best-known collections include The Tenth of DecemberCivilwarland in Bad Decline and Congratulations, by the Way, Some Thoughts on Kindness.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408871775
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 298 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


A masterpiece - Zadie Smith, New York Times

Must be one of my favourite novels. What a warm, kindhearted and radical piece of writing. Such delicacy, such serious wit. I love it - Max Porter

An early contender for 2017's Man Booker, a highly affecting novel about Abraham Lincoln's grief at the loss of his young son - Sunday Times

The much anticipated long-form debut from the US short-story maestro does not dissapoint - Guardian

The debut novel by the short-story supremo George Saunders. Set in 1862 in a cemetery in Washington, it has drawn high praise - New Statesman

A cacophonous, genre-busting book inspired by the death of Abraham Lincoln's young son - Metro

Filled with wit and sadness … It is an immensely powerful work. In the hands of the right imagination, the horror of individual loss can become an extraordinarily humane exploration of the beauty and the value of life, however painful - Guardian

An original father-son tale that expertly blends history and fiction (and even the supernatural), Lincoln in the Bardo explores grief, loss, life, death - Buzzfeed Year Ahead in Books

George Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time - Khaled Hosseini

A morally passionate, serious writer ... He will be read long after these times have passed - Zadie Smith

He makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We're lucky to have him - Jonathan Franzen

An astoundingly tuned voice – graceful, dark, authentic and funny - Thomas Pynchon

Saunders is a writer of arresting brilliance and originality, with a sure sense of his material and apparently inexhaustible resources of voice ... Scary, hilarious and unforgettable - Tobias Wolff

There is no one better, no one more essential - Dave Eggers

Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does - Junot Diaz

Saunders is a true original - restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane - Jennifer Egan

Reading George Saunders is, it's safe to say, like no other literary experience - Observer

No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Surreal and puncturing - Margaret Atwood

Funny, poignant – in flashes, deeply moving – light as a feather and consistently weird - Hari Kunzru

There is really no one like him. He is an original – but everyone knows that - Lorrie Moore

Part of the reason it’s so hard to talk about him is the shared acknowledgment among writers that Saunders is somehow a little more than just a writer. . . . [He] writes like something of a saint. He seems in touch with some better being - Joshua Ferris

Stunning ... Lincoln in the Bardo is a triumph ... In Lincoln in the Bardo Saunders has reinvented the form - Bookseller

A strange but brilliant study of grief and bereavement - Mail on Sunday, ‘Sizzling summer reads’

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“A most unusual masterpiece....”

I ' d warn you all that you have never read anything like this before. It is an extraordinarily unique and wonderfully inventive novel about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son Willie. After... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 202

“A Reinvention of the Novel”

So, I thought I'd let Saff' say it all, for fear of not being able to match her astute observations and way with words, her near perfect review, her fantastic rendering of exactly what Saunders has done.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 141


I was fortunate enough to receive a proof copy of this title after a fantastic recommend by a fellow bookseller. Despite the graveyard setting and the voices of the dead, this book is beautiful and full of life. A... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 112

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