Lincoln in the Bardo
Visiting Washington, D.C., years ago, writer George Saunders came across the cemetery crypt in which Abraham Lincoln’s beloved 11-year-old son Willie was laid to rest after his death from typhoid in 1862. So grief stricken was the president that he reportedly stole away to the graveyard overnight to be beside him.
The image stayed with Saunders, a celebrated short story writer who ultimately was moved to pen his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. It movingly imagines Lincoln’s night in the cemetery, tortured by both the loss of his son and the Civil War, and depicts a ghostly world shared by Willie and his fellow dead. The “bardo” of the title is a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo.
Saunders discusses the best-selling book, winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for the best original novel in 2017. The event is co-presented by Rainy Day Books.
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