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Lincoln no Limbo (2017)

de George Saunders

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5,9073401,715 (3.93)519
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. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. 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.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porkwagnerroberts, Arina79, kadlib, biblioteca privada, AthenaSophia, steph_carter
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Inglês (334)  Holandês (3)  Espanhol (2)  Catalão (1)  Todos os idiomas (340)
Mostrando 1-5 de 340 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I found this book reminiscent of [The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida], which I read first.
However, Lincoln in the Bardo was written earlier and therefore deserves the kudos for its original theme and story arc.
It is probably not a book I would choose to read, if it hadn't been a Booker winner. I have no regrets though, as I had little knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, coming from the Southern Hemisphere i.e. New Zealand.
I couldn't help being moved by Lincoln's grief at the death of his beloved 3rd son and it was an interesting and at times entertaining imagination of the afterlife. It was not as dark as [The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida]. The format is interesting and makes for quick reading as it is conveyed in the voices of the many souls in the graveyard with large spaces between each one's spoken word. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jun 24, 2024 |
It's easier to cast a gauzy glow over figures that never faced the kind of constant examination that politicians today face. There was a lot of stuff going on in the White Houses of yore that even if it was known, wasn't published and dissected and scrutinized the way things are now. Like, for example, when Abraham Lincoln's 11 year-old son, Willie, died while he was in office during the Civil War. Mary Todd Lincoln had a breakdown, and Lincoln himself didn't cope well either. He went to the vault where his son's body was, at least once, and picked him up and held him. It was a demonstration of terrible, profound grief, and if it happened today can you imagine the tweets?

It is this situation, the heartbroken Lincoln going to see his dead son, that inspired lauded short-story writer George Saunders' first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. The bardo is based on the Tibetan concept of a liminal state between life and death, fairly similar to the Catholic purgatory but without the connotations of having done something "wrong", and the Lincoln in question is not Abraham but Willie himself. It is his soul that comes to the bardo, where he encounters other spirits, those who have elected to stay. They don't believe themselves quite dead...they refer to their coffins as "sick-boxes" and are sure that they'll soon recover and get back to their lives as they knew them. But they all know that children aren't supposed to linger, they're supposed to move on. And Willie is more or less ready to do so when his father appears, to hold him and talk to him, and promises to come back. So now Willie, too, wants to stay.

There are three main ghosts/spirits/souls that take on the task of trying to figure out how to inspire Willie to move on: Hans, Roger, and Everly. Hans was an older shopkeeper who remarried after the death of his first wife. He waited to consumate his second marriage until his young and lovely bride was comfortable, and after months, she's finally ready to do so...and then Hans is struck violently in the head by a wayward beam. Roger was a young gay man who managed to find love in a time when that was difficult...only to get dumped and slit his wrists in despair. As he bled, he realized how beautiful the world was and how much he wanted to live. And then there's Everly, a former reverend who lived righteously but is too afraid of heavenly judgment to go. They try everything, including communing with the President, to get Willie going where he needs to go.

This is a very odd novel. It's mostly structured like a play...dialogue is followed by a notation of the speaker's name. Then there are occasional sections where Saunders excerpts nonfiction historical sources to describe various aspects of the situation at hand: the party the Lincolns hosted at the White House the night Willie lay dying, what Lincoln actually looked like, what Willie was like, the day of the funeral. There's no traditional "narrative" at all. I'll admit that this made it a bit of a struggle to get into...I don't usually especially enjoy reading plays, and there's not a lot of information provided about what's going on and who the various characters are right off the bat. But my reluctance to put down books before I've finished them paid off here, because once I got into the flow of it, I found the back half quite strong and the ending unexpectedly powerful.

I've never read any of Saunders' short stories, but I'm excited to do so in the future because the sheer inventiveness of this novel is delightful. As someone who loves The Divine Comedy, I enjoyed his take on Dante's technique of contrapasso, giving the spirits physical manifestations matching the reason they won't leave the bardo. Although it won the Booker Prize for its release year (which was awarded the day after I finished reading it!), this is a novel destined to be divisive and one that I'd therefore hesitate recommending widely even though I personally enjoyed it. If you're looking for a straightforward form or narrative, or something more traditionally "historical fiction", this isn't for you. But if you're interested in a more unusual reading experience that challenges you to read in a different way, I'd encourage you to at least give it a try! ( )
  ghneumann | Jun 14, 2024 |
DNF at 15%

No rating as I didn't finish this one. The literary critics love it. Several of my reading friends have enjoyed it. It is unlike anything else I have ever read -- and it isn't working for me at all. Like, not one teeny, tiny bit. I have a galley and I wonder if my copy was somehow corrupted because it was truly bizarre.

Thank you to Random House and Netgalley for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  jj24 | May 27, 2024 |
I listened to the audiobook, largely because, knowing how I dislike history, I thought I’d bog down if I tried to read in print. At the beginning of the audiobook, I began to worry that with 166 narrators and footnotes(!) interspersed, it would be chaos. I’m pleased to report that I was neither bogged down nor was it at all confusing. I can’t imagine a better way to present this novel in audio form. I think even that the multitude of voices brought the bardo to life (so to speak) better than print could have done. The novel itself is a beautiful meditation on grief, regret, vengeance, and, peripherally, the Civil War. ( )
  Charon07 | May 13, 2024 |
A brilliantly imaginative paean on grief, morality and mortality, in a form like nothing else I've ever seen. [a:George Saunders|8885|George Saunders|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1355356844p2/8885.jpg] is a master story-teller. [b:Lincoln in the Bardo|29906980|Lincoln in the Bardo|George Saunders|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492130850s/29906980.jpg|50281866] will haunt me, I suspect, for a long time to come. ( )
  punkinmuffin | Apr 30, 2024 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Saunders, Georgeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Offerman, NickNarradorautor principalalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sedaris, DavidNarradorautor principalalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bachman, Barbara MDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Brownstein, CarrieNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cardinal, ChelseaDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cheadle, DonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dennings, KatNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dughet, HaspardArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dunham, LenaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hader, BillNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Heinimann, GregDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
July, Miranda Narradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Karr, MaryNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pye, JohnArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sivill, KaijamariTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stiller, BenNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Webb, E.Artista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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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. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. 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.

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