Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Short Review - Lincoln in the Bardo

Used loosely, "bardo" is the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena.

I heard George Saunders on NPR's Weekend Edition and I was flummoxed; he didn't sound like The Saint.  The more I listened the more evident it became that this was not the actor back from the dead, but a master of the short story talking about the dead.  It was a driveway moment; I sat in the car until the interview wrapped up. 

The conceit of the story is immediately believable.  The telling is cryptic, requiring some work until the pieces fall into place.  It's part play, part eulogy, and pure poetry.  I kept interrupting TBG to tell him how wonderful this passage... this thought.... this absolutely how did he know that I thought about it just that way description.

I cringed.  I sighed.  I teared up and I laughed out loud.  I ran when they ran and I worried when they worried and just when I thought I had it in hand it flew up and away in an entirely different direction.  

It's a mixture of fact and if-it's-not-a-fact-it-should-be and after a while I stopped wondering and just let it wash over me.  The end left me holding the book open in my lap... for a long time.  

One of the best books I've ever read.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!