“There’s quite a bit of schmaltz in Lincoln in the Bardo.”

Caleb Crain reviews George Saunders’s first novel Lincoln in the Bardo

First paragraph:

George Saunders’s new novel—his first, after four collections of short stories and a novella—takes place in the afterlife. Or rather, it takes place in the “bardo,” a term that Saunders has borrowed from Buddhism for what might be called the “justafterlife”—the interval between a ghost’s separation from its body and its departure for whatever comes next. As in The Sixth Sense and other movies and television shows, the ghosts imagined by Saunders linger in our world because they either don’t know they’re dead or aren’t yet resigned to leaving. “You are a wave that has crashed upon the shore,” they are told by browbeating angels who visit intermittently, but they refuse to listen.

Crain doesn’t exactly eviscerate Lincoln in the Bardo in his review (which also situates the novel in context with Saunders’s previous stories and essays), but he does make a strong case for passing on it.

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4 thoughts on ““There’s quite a bit of schmaltz in Lincoln in the Bardo.””

  1. “Caleb Crain reviews George Saunders’s first novel Lincoln in the Bardo Pond.”
    The day the new Bardo Pond album has leaked heh

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    1. Ha! Thanks, I fixed the post.

      Y’know, I actually wrote “Bardo Pond” on the bottom part too, but caught it.

      The band I was in in high school/college opened for Bardo Pond in ’98.

      Like

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