Lincoln in the Bardo
The captivating first novel by the best-selling, National Book Award nominee George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body. Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel - in its form and voice - completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.

Lincoln in the Bardo Details

Book TitleLincoln in the Bardo
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Lincoln in the Bardo Reviews

  • Cindy
    Oct 18, 2016


    What is the difference between the quick and the dead? Lincoln in the Bardo explores this with the precise and inventive wordcraft for which Saunders is renowned. In February 1862 President Lincoln’s son Will died of typhoid fever, and Lincoln was seen going to the crypt to hold h...

  • Stephanie
    Oct 16, 2016


    Review coming soon! ...

  • Shannon
    Oct 13, 2016


    If I tell you that this is the story of Abraham Lincoln's grief over his beloved dead son that takes place in a graveyard in 1862, is narrated by spirits (one of whom spends most of the book with " swollen member of astonishing size") and peppered with quotes and citations that may or ...

  • Janis
    Oct 6, 2016


    This astonishing, evocative, thought-provoking novel explores a vision of death and life, using the occasion of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s beloved son, Willie, and Lincoln’s subsequent visits to Willie’s burial site. Saunders uses many voices – we hear from mode...

  • Katherine
    Oct 5, 2016


    Very creative and unusual book! After my initial confusion about the way this book is structured I enjoyed the mixture of voices that were shared by the ghosts. The ghosts also add humor to the story that otherwise could have been too sad and depressing so I am grateful for their part ...

  • Mike W
    Oct 4, 2016

    Mike W

    Review coming ...

  • Nick Otte
    Sep 27, 2016

    Nick Otte

    Saunders's first novel is an important and groundbreaking work that challenges and expands upon the definition of long form storytelling and themes of love and death. His tale of this one night and the souls involved feels timeless and yet entirely fresh. An enlightening, terrifying, d...

  • Misha
    Sep 25, 2016


    This is an interesting book. It's play-like format--of snippets from various accounts and perspectives, making it hard to figure out if some of it is taken from accounts of Lincoln's time or all written by Saunders and attributed, in some cases, to real people--is interesting and makes...

  • Jill
    Sep 23, 2016


    I have never read anything like this before, and I loved it! The entire story takes place the night that Lincoln's son Willie is laid to rest. The narrators are some very entertaining ghosts (sounds odd but it works so well) and the story is supplemented with relevant & interesting...

  • Jason
    Sep 3, 2016


    The story is, at times, breathtakingly touching; but feels stretched thin, sometimes plodding and occasionally losing focus. Exceptional moments but uneven. ...