Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders was widely anticipated as the work of a wordsmith. It is an absolutely creative piece focusing in on Abraham Lincoln’s grief over his young son’s death. What’s interesting here is that it’s tricky to read as a collage of different pieces of text from different origins and different voices. Many of those voices are ghostly. While some might trip up a bit on the form, there is no doubt that this is a genius novel that plays into the worries of modern Americans and readers in general. There’s nothing quite like the grief of Lincoln as he holds the body of his son. It can hit you in the gut.
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