Zoom Program: Tuesday Book Club – “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
10:00 am - 11:30 am
The Tuesday Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month (with an exception here and there). We discuss a wide variety of genres but focus on popular fiction and nonfiction. Being unable to meet in person during the pandemic, we are having our discussions online through a videoconferencing platform called Zoom. Books chosen are available both online and in hard copy through curbside delivery.
If you would like access to the discussion or are having difficulty finding a book, please email JC Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org
This month’s selection:
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?
Cold Spring Branch