Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lincoln in the Bardo: George Saunders wrote a fine book that could have also been a fine short story but was a fine book afterall

Image result for "Lincoln in the bardo" cover

George Saunders's Booker Prize-winning book Lincoln in the Bardo is a powerfully good book. One of my favorite reads this year by far. 

The unique structure and the chops it took for Saunders to write so well and so distinctly in so many different voices while still maintaining the narrative was nothing short of miraculous. 


It had more funny moments than poignant, though, in case you've heard otherwise. Most of the heart of the book was in sections that went deeply into Abe Lincoln. It may sound strange, but Saunders, I think, invoked Day-Lewis's performance in Lincoln with those sections. They just felt dead on perfect. 



Now, although I loved that Saunders basically invented a new form to write this book, I will say that it did also up the page count, an important consideration for a short story writer's first attempt at a novel. With this in mind, I believe whole-heartedly that this novel could have worked, and worked better, as a longish short story. There's a lot of of open space on each page due to the breaks. Take out those breaks and you've got what most people would consider more of a novella, probably. I'm not sure. 



All in all, read this book. I don't really care if he was fluffing with breaks for length or not. It doesn't matter. The book still works beautifully and deserves the Booker, something I wasn't convinced of before reading it, to be perfectly honest. 

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