Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Four Stars

I found George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo unique in style and accurate in historical representation. The resulting style for this historical fantasy is a prose-poem exchange between characters with published resources to explain the biographical events surrounding the death of Willie Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. For these reasons, I can understand why this novel was chosen for the Man Booker Prize in 2017.

The drawbacks to the novel are its unnecessary inclusion of explicit sexual content and vulgar language. I also did not agree with its after-life theory, which could be a deterrent for some readers. Consequently, it is not a book I would recommend to everyone.

However, if you appreciate innovative writing styles and historical interpretation, this might be a good book to include on your 2018 reading list.

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