Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 book 11

George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo
I normally don't prioritize books by white men, but was intrigued to read Saunders' first novel (after many short story collections), which supposedly centered on the death of young Willie Lincoln (son of Abe) in the White House. I found the sort of cemetery-ghosts-as-Greek-chorus/history-books-as-Greek-chorus style of narration to be interesting as a literary device, but somewhat annoying to actually read (will it be better in star-studded audiobook form?). But every time I put it down in disgust (most of the narrators are white men and some of them are gross, lots of talk of their protruding members and "sluts" and rape), I was like, well, I might as well pick it up again and read more, I want to see what happens to Willie. And it went pretty much how I expected it to go and was thus not particularly compelling (there are a few black voices in the second half, with period-appropriate bleak stories)--though the very last bit was pretty great, I'll give Saunders that. I imagine this is going to be popular but I wasn't really feeling its vibe. B.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in February.

1 comment:

Christina said...

The audiobook was pretty great, but definitely confusing at first. I liked the George Saunders-y stuff, but I think calling this a novel almost does it a disservice. It's more like a play or Spoon River Anthology. Can you just imagine the college papers being written about it already?!