Lincoln in the Bardo Review

I was excited about this book when it was released in 2017. Everybody was talking about it. I reserved it at my library and waited about 3 months for it to be available. In the interim, I read Tenth of December and absolutely loved it. The stories were inventive, thought-provoking, and compelling. This increased my anticipation even more for Lincoln in the Bardo. I finally got the book and started reading. I was never able to get into it and I just was not compelled to turn pages. I read about 150 pages before putting it down. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it, but more that I didn’t know what the point was. So I moved on.

Earlier this year a friend mentioned that the audiobook was great and I should give it a listen. I was able to get it from the library and I started listening. It is easier to wade through this as an audiobook—partly due to the great cast of actors and readers—but I still don’t really know what it’s about. This is much more of an ensemble piece that tells a story much larger than Lincoln and his mourning for his son. The purgatory of the cemetery provides the author the canvas to tell many unconnected stories from the mid-1860s. Maybe that’s the point, but they just don’t add up for me.

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