***WINNER OF THE 2018 AUDIE AWARD FOR AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR***
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?
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
Julianne 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
Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator
Praise for the audiobook
“Lincoln in the Bardo" sets a new standard for cast recordings in its structure, in its performances, and in its boldness. Now, let's see who answers the challenge.” – Chicago Tribune
“Like the novel, the audiobook breaks new ground in what can be accomplished through a story. It helps that there’s not a single bad note in the cast of a whopping 166 people. It’s also the rare phenomenon of an audiobook being a completely different experience compared to the novel. Even if you’ve read the novel, the audiobook is worth a listen (and vice versa). The whole project pushes the narrative form forward.&
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This dramatized 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 over 160 speaking parts!) absolutely nail the author's trademark blend of whimsical humor 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.
Not what I expected. I mean that in a good way. Short, odd, and sometimes funny. Nick Offerman should do more audio books.
I Don’t Get It
I guess I must be from a different planet. This was so highly rated, I thought I’d get the audiobook to listen to on a long road trip. I realized immediately this was different from books I would normally read, but I listened for about two hours before I couldn’t take any more. This seems like random musings of an opiate addict. I didn’t get it.
Audiobook difficult to follow
Enjoyed the chapter on the sample but the next 10 minutes was excerpt after excerpt, each in a new voice. It’s probably lovely on the page or on film, but did not work at all for me in this format.