This literary ghost story is hauntingly good, and just won the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
Here's a helpful review: "This is a rare novel which lives up to its ecstatic reviews. Lincoln in the Bardo appears at first to be about the famous US President, Abraham Lincoln, mourning his young son, Willie, who died at home of typhoid in 1862, in the second year of the American Civil War. But when Willie is brought to the Washington cemetery, he disturbs the spirits of those who cannot accept that they have died – those who are ‘in the Bardo’, a Tibetan term for the transitional state between life and the hereafter.
It is these former-human spirits who tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s intense and lonely mourning, while they continue their own ‘after-lives’ in short bursts of activity, whizzing around the cemetery, trying to grasp the essence of who they were. They hope somehow to get back ‘to that place’, the living world.
The book is narrated via snippets of dialogue between the spirits, interspersed with short quotes from contemporary newspapers, civil war diaries and more recent historians, like a series of off-stage comments from a hidden chorus. This takes a few pages to get used to, but it works really well if one persists, allowing both drama and a deeply reflective perspective."
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