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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?

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



About the Author

George Saunders

George Saunders was born December 2, 1958 and raised on the south side of Chicago. In 1981 he received a B.S. in Geophysical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He worked at Radian International, an environmental engineering firm in Rochester, NY as a technical writer and geophysical engineer from 1989 to 1996. He has also worked in Sumatra on an oil exploration geophysics crew, as a doorman in Beverly Hills, a roofer in Chicago, a convenience store clerk, a guitarist in a Texas country-and-western band, and a knuckle-puller in a West Texas slaughterhouse. After reading in magazine about the Master's program at Syracuse University, he applied. Mr. Saunders received an MA with an emphasis in creative writing in 1988. His thesis advisor was Doug Unger. He has been an Assistant Professor, Syracuse University Creative Writing Program since 1997. He has also been a Visiting Writer at Vermont Studio Center, University of Georgia MayMester Program, University of Denver, University of Texas at Austin, St. Petersburg Literary Seminar (St. Petersburg, Russia, Summer 2000) , Brown University, Dickinson College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges. He conducted a Guest Workshop at the Eastman School of Music, Fall 1995, and was an Adjunct Professor at Saint John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, 1990-1995; and Adjunct Professor at Siena College, Loudonville, New York in Fall 1989. He is married and has two children. His favorite charity is a project to educate Tibetan refugee children in Nepal. Information on this can be found at



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