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Abraham Lincoln seeks his departed son in a graveyard purgatory pulsating with comic, tragic, and thwarted life. Thru language inventive and freeing, Saunders lifts his lost souls to the cusp of divinity, and gives the reader a taste of the wild enchantment of literature.— Mike Hare
Echoes of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology resound through this beautifully written and emotionally powerful story about spirits in the graveyard where Abraham Lincoln's son, Willie, was laid to rest. The restless inhabitants observe in awe as the bereaved President visits his child. Fiercely original and almost hypnotic in its ability to cast a spell over the reader that is both mournful and joyous.— Alden Graves
“Saunders' first novel has a steep entry curve. It's not a novel that reveals itself quickly and easily, but if you give it your attention, if you burrow deep into the book, you'll be eminently rewarded. There is a richness and depth of humanity here. There is the strange and wonderful. There is love and grief and mystery all brought together in the story of Abraham Lincoln's dead son, the Civil War, and what may happen to us all after we leave the mortal coil. It's a beautiful and moving book that will stay with you for a long, long while.”
— Jason Vanhee (E), University Book Store, Seattle, WA
“The fact that Saunders’ first novel is awesome is no surprise, but everything else about it is. Lincoln in the Bardo takes a historical event and uses a recognizable form—bibliographic citation—and flips it, flips us, until we are no longer able to distinguish what is truth. Saunders reminds us that, ultimately, history is just people telling stories.”
— Claire Anderson-Ramos, BookPeople, Austin, TX