Lincoln in the Bardo is a fascinating, unique and mesmerizing reading experience and I have to admit I have never read anything quite like it.
Saunders takes the reader on a journey to the bardo, a kind of "in-between-place", where the souls of the dead, who have unfinished business on earth, linger and obsess over their unfinished business on earth. On the night of his burial eleven year old William Lincoln gets stuck in the bardo, unable to pass on to the place beyond, eventhough this means a threat to him. Will the ghosts of the bardo be able to help him?
This novel is about grief, loss, love, the bond between a parent and his child, sin, redemption and forgiveness. Especially the passages, where Williams father Abraham Lincoln comes to the cemetery, because he can´t let go of his boy, were heartbreaking.
The novel is split into two narratives and it took me some time to get used to the narration. The biggest part of the novel takes place in the bardo and is mainly told in dialogue from the perspective of three of its ghost (but there is a huge cast of other characters as well). The smaller part consists of qoutes of contemporary peers describing what Abraham Lincoln has done or how he has reacted during the time of Williams death. The chapters with the quotes were really fun at times, because various people contratict each other, beginning from the moon being there or not to the physical appearance of Abraham Lincoln.
The only thing I have to complain about is that Saunders uses a weird kind of humour in places, a humour which is not up my alley. But then it´s been a couple of days since I finished this book and I can´t stop thinking about it. I really liked this novel.
I´ve read this book for the "Main Street 13" square of Booklikes-opoly. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer and the book is set during the Civil War.
Page count: 343 pages
Money earned: $3.00