Book Discussion Group
Join us as we discuss content and writing style.
Join us on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm in the Heuston Library of the Parish House, 2nd floor, to discuss the best of the classics and the best of the new. Everyone’s welcome. We discuss content and writing style; the reading list is selected by suggestions from the members.
July 11: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House. In a matter of days, 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 returns, alone, to the crypt several times 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 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. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. It asks the question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?