**WINNER OF THE 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE**
The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War.
February 1862. The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. Days later, 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 supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a strange purgatory - called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo - where ghosts mingle, squabble and commiserate, and a monumental struggle erupts over his soul.
Written with George Saunders' inimitable humour, pathos and grace, Lincoln in the Bardo invents a thrilling new form and confirms him as one of the most important 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?
MAN BOOKER PRIZE JUDGES 2017:
“an extraordinary piece of work. It was unique.”
“That challenge is actually part of its uniqueness. It is almost saying, ‘I dare you to engage with this kind of story, in this kind of way.’ “For us, it really stood out because of its innovation, its very different styling, the way it, almost paradoxically, brought to life these almost dead souls in this other world. There was this juxtaposition of the very personal tragedy of Abraham Lincoln and the death of his very young son next to his public life, as the person who really instigated the American civil war. You’ve got this individual death, very close and personal; you’ve got this much wider issue of the political scenario and the death of hundreds of thousands of young men; and then you’ve got this weird state across the cemetery, with these souls who are not quite ready to be fully dead, as it were, trying to work out some of the things that plagued them during their lives.”
George Saunders is the author of seven books, including the New York Times bestseller Tenth of December, which won the Folio Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the National Book Award 2013, an essay collection, The Braindead Megaphone, and the critically acclaimed story collections Civil WarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, and In Persuasion Nation.
In 2013, he gave a graduation lecture at Syracuse University, which was then published as a New York Times bestselling book, Congratulations, by the way. In 2006, he was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.
In 2017 he was awarded The Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo.
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