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Lincoln in the Bardo Audiobook

Lincoln in the Bardo

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize

In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it.

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 11-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 returned to the crypt several times alone 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 thrilling 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.

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 vJulianne 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
and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator.

©2017 George Saunders (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (274 )
5 star
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4.0 (257 )
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4.5 (259 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (11)
Performance
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  •  
    rena 16/10/2017
    rena 16/10/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "I really don't get the point of this book"

    I found this book disjointed and pointless. I forced myself to finish it, not sure why as it felt like torture.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L 13/07/2017
    L 13/07/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    "Mistake"

    I liked the first part of the first chapter. After that I found the constant references totally stopped any kind of flow. This is not my kind of book and I returned it having failed to be pulled in.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    no 27/07/2017
    no 27/07/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
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    6
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    "Complete gibberish as far as I can tell"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No idea


    What will your next listen be?

    Julian Barnes


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    Some of the narration is great - but I have no idea what they were narrating


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Mystification. I started it again twice thinking I might not have been concentrating whilst I was gardening or driving - but once they got past Willie's death it just gets sillier and sillier


    Any additional comments?

    I listen to and read a lot of "literary" fiction - but this is just a waste of time or too experimental for my brain

    33 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 02/04/2017
    Dan 02/04/2017
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    5
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    "Emperors new clothes"

    I think this may be a book everybody raves about because somebody clever wrote it and the critics say it's great. It's not great. It's boring and pseudo-intellectual. Like a spoof of a really clever book. Maybe you have to be American to get it. Can I have my money back please? I feel like I was conned by all the rave reviews.

    31 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bookylady 01/10/2017
    bookylady 01/10/2017 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    65
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    "Confusing, disappointing, over-hyped"

    This has to be one of the most over-hyped books I have ever read or listened to. It has had rave reviews and has been shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize for fiction but I have to say that I really don't understand why.

    It is rambling, confusing, depressing, lacks cohesion and, for a prose work, it is full of quotes and end notes from works of non-fiction. To me, this just made the whole thing a complete mess and very difficult to concentrate upon. Additionally, the huge number of characters (and therefore voices) used in the performance made this narrative really difficult to keep track of. I lost interest after the first half and gave up on it.

    Perhaps it would be better to read a hard copy, to help make sense of it all. But if you decide to do that, allow plenty of time. This is a tale that you really need to concentrate hard on and it is certainly not an uplifting story.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    serginhowardinho 08/08/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Incomprehensible Garbage"
    What disappointed you about Lincoln in the Bardo?

    Everything.


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    Like an am-dram production by moderately talented students with no director to marshall them: the numerous voices, footnotes and diversions serve only to produce a story which is utterly incomprehensible and completely incoherent. This is the worst audio book I've ever heard.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suswati 03/04/2017
    Suswati 03/04/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    184
    ratings
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    218
    216
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    10
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    Story
    "Epic contemporary Shakespearean tragedy"

    George Saunder's epic historical and existential tragedy seems to resonate on many levels with a variety of readers. Taking the real life account of the death of Abraham Lincoln's son, exploring his grief and creating a magical realistic theatrical piece is a true wonder.

    It's a listening experience for all the senses, with the beautiful music and sounds of the Civil War, as well as a host of well known voices - it's haunting in many aspects. The language is rich and variable mixing Shakespearean dialogue with modern slang.

    Where it falls short are the constant breaks in the novel through footnotes describing the actual factual account of that time. It is jarring and ruins the experience - it should be left to the end and is only valid when reading. In this case Saunders sounds timid, having to constantly back up his claims. It would have been five stars, but it happened too often.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bronnage 24/11/2017
    Bronnage 24/11/2017 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    31
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    "What an extraordinary ride"

    A strange, beautiful, funny, moving gem of a novel. It is not a linear narrative but a watercolour painting of voices, snatches of fragmented lives and deaths and a truly original contemplation of what we have that might be eternal. This is not an easy listen or read and might not be for everyone, but I loved it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Delighted, Tunbridge Wells UK 19/03/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Profound, moving, inventive - superlatives apply"
    What did you like most about Lincoln in the Bardo?

    This is an amazingly inventive book, beautifully written and I suspect will stay with me. The audiobook is simply marvellous: David Sedaris is as always tremendous.

    You won't find a more original, more moving book this year.


    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline Lawrence London, England 21/03/2017
    Caroline Lawrence London, England 21/03/2017 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "A stunning memento mori"

    A stunning, surreal, and sometimes almost unbearably moving meditation on the human condition. The audio version with its faintly barking dog, cawing crows, sighing wind, period music and with every one of the 166 narrators perfect and distinctive, is a tour de force. They say that more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than about any other historical person apart from Jesus Christ. Was there ever a man as tragic and noble as Lincoln? Sublime.

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
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  • David
    Berkeley Vale, Australia
    27/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for the faint hearted"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    it was challenging but also funny, moving and informative


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    there was so many of them, but the performances were all great


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't want to be challenged by innovation in story telling this book is not for you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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