Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

By George Saunders
Read by Nick Offerman , David Sedaris , George Saunders , and  a full cast

7.42 Hours 02/14/2017 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance:   Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator Praise for the audiobook “Lincoln in the Bardo" sets a new standard for cast recordings in its structure, in its performances, and in its boldness. Now, let's see who answers the challenge.” – Chicago Tribune   “Like the novel, the audiobook breaks new ground in what can be accomplished through a story. It helps that there’s not a single bad note in the cast of a whopping 166 people. It’s also the rare phenomenon of an audiobook being a completely different experience compared to the novel. Even if you’ve read the novel, the audiobook is worth a listen (and vice versa). The whole project pushes the narrative form forward.” – A.V. Club   “The result is an auditory experience unlike any other, where the awareness of individual voices disappears while the carefully calibrated soundscape summons a metaphysical masterpiece. This is a tour de force of audiobook production, and a dazzling realization of Saunders’ unique authorial structure.”—Booklist    “The finished audiobook’s tapestry of voices perfectly mirrors the novel.”—Entertainment Weekly Praise for George Saunders   “No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times   “Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”—Khaled Hosseini “Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”—Junot Díaz   “George Saunders is a complete original. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers   “Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny.”—Zadie Smith   “There is no one like him. He is an original—but everyone knows that.”—Lorrie Moore “George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We’re lucky to have him.”—Jonathan Franzen   “An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times.”—Thomas Pynchon

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Summary

Summary

A 2018 Audie Award Finalist for Best Multi-Voiced Performance

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

#1 New York Times bestseller

An RUSA Notable Book for Outstanding Audiobook Narration

A Library Journal Best Audiobook of 2017

Shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017

Washington Post Top 10 Book of Books That We Loved

Libro.fm Audio bestseller

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

A BookPage Top Pick for March 2017

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo
 is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance:
 
Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN
David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III
Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS
George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS
Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD
Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR
Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS
Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS
Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS
Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE
Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON
Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON
Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER
Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE
Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE
Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER
Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX
Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL
Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS
and
Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
with
Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator


Praise for the audiobook

“Lincoln in the Bardo" sets a new standard for cast recordings in its structure, in its performances, and in its boldness. Now, let's see who answers the challenge.” – Chicago Tribune
 
“Like the novel, the audiobook breaks new ground in what can be accomplished through a story. It helps that there’s not a single bad note in the cast of a whopping 166 people. It’s also the rare phenomenon of an audiobook being a completely different experience compared to the novel. Even if you’ve read the novel, the audiobook is worth a listen (and vice versa). The whole project pushes the narrative form forward.” – A.V. Club
 
“The result is an auditory experience unlike any other, where the awareness of individual voices disappears while the carefully calibrated soundscape summons a metaphysical masterpiece. This is a tour de force of audiobook production, and a dazzling realization of Saunders’ unique authorial structure.”—Booklist 
 
“The finished audiobook’s tapestry of voices perfectly mirrors the novel.”—Entertainment Weekly


Praise for George Saunders
 
“No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”—Khaled Hosseini

“Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”—Junot Díaz
 
“George Saunders is a complete original. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers
 
“Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny.”—Zadie Smith
 
“There is no one like him. He is an original—but everyone knows that.”—Lorrie Moore

“George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We’re lucky to have him.”—Jonathan Franzen
 
“An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times.”—Thomas Pynchon

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

The novel beats with a present-day urgency—a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on. Vanity Fair
Saunders is the most humane American writer working today. Harper’s Magazine  
Ingenious . . . Saunders—well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain—crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows. Vogue  
A masterpiece. Zadie Smith  
A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love . . . Saunders has written an unsentimental novel of Shakespearean proportions, gorgeously stuffed with tragic characters, bawdy humor, terrifying visions, throat-catching tenderness, and a galloping narrative, all twined around the luminous cord connecting a father and son and backlit by a nation engulfed in fire. Elle
Wildly imaginative. Marie Claire
It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read, except that the grotesque humor, pathos, and, ultimately, human kindness at its core mark it as a work that could come only from Saunders. The National
Exhilarating . . . Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Mesmerizing . . . Dantesque . . . A haunting American ballad. Publishers Weekly (starred review)  
Lincoln in the Bardo is part historical novel, part carnivalesque phantasmagoria. It may well be the most strange and brilliant book you’ll read this year. Financial Times
There are moments that are almost transcendentally beautiful, that will come back to you on the edge of sleep. And it is told in beautifully realized voices, rolling out with precision or with stream-of-consciousness drawl. NPR
Saunders’s beautifully realized portrait of Lincoln . . . attests to the author’s own fruitful transition from the short story to the long-distance form of the novel. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
A luminous feat of generosity and humanism. Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review  “An extended national ghost story . . . As anyone who knows Saunders’s work would expect, his first novel is a strikingly original production.
“While it may take a few moments to acclimate to the quirks and syncopated rhythms of this unconventional novel, there’s an undeniable appeal in hearing this impressive cast of narrators…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
Devastatingly moving. People
Profound, funny and vital . . . the work of a great writer. Chicago Tribune
Along with the wonderfully bizarre, empathy abounds in Lincoln in the Bardo. Time
Heartbreaking and hilarious . . . For all its divine comedy, Lincoln in the Bardo is also deep and moving. USA Today
“The audio presentation brings a chorus of voices to raucous, guilty, fearful, and complicated life.” Library Journal (starred audio review)
“Feels more like a movie than an audiobook.” Wired.com (audio review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: George Saunders

George Saunders is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, including Tenth of December, Pastoralia, and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, as well as a collection of essays and a book for children. Saunders is a MacArthur fellow and teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.

Titles by Author

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 7.42
Audience: Adult
Language: English