Boneyard Bookworms: February Book Discussion
All are welcome to drop into Laurel Hill’s monthly book club discussions!
In February we’ll meet online to discuss Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders’ genre-breaking tale of characters living and dead, historical and invented.
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 eleven-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. 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 comes an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Young Willie Lincoln finds himself within a transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—where a monumental struggle erupts over his soul, and a panorama of theatrical voices ask the profound question: how do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?
Please RSVP to receive a Zoom meeting link.