Winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize
In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it.
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 11-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 returned to the crypt several times alone 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 thrilling 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.
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 vJulianne 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This dramatised reading of George Saunders' metaphysical tale of loss, Abraham Lincoln and the afterlife is extraordinary. Nick Offerman and a small army of acting friends (seriously, there are more than 160 speaking parts!) absolutely nail the author's trademark blend of whimsical humour and melancholy. Offerman and David Sedaris are dead-on as Saunders' posthumous narrators, while supporting players like Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Ben Stiller and Saunders himself have a ball with the novel’s intricate, strangely moving wordplay. Like an elaborate radio play, Lincoln in the Bardo is a riveting, frequently hilarious and totally memorable audio experience.