The winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Narrated by a chorus of voices, George Saunders’ startlingly original novel is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the possibilities of life.

February, 1862. Two days after his death, 11-year-old Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. All that night, his father Abraham paces the darkness of the graveyard, shattered with grief. Meanwhile, Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living - drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.

The Man Booker Prize 2017
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George Saunders

George Saunders

About the Author

George Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Booker Prize.
More about George Saunders

George Saunders on writing

‘When I teach at Syracuse, I’m trying to tell my students that the first move that most of us make when we write, is we put up a front. We’re trying to imitate the beloved writers that we’ve known. That doesn’t actually work, even if you imitate Rushdie really, really well, you’re not Rushdie. Go ahead and do that and you’ll be frustrated because you’ll feel that you’re a light version of that writer. And at some critical moment, you’ll start to really squirm because the things you actually know in your life aren’t showing up on the page. So at that moment I will say to them, “How are you charming in real life? Is that there? If you’re a funny person, are you being funny? If you’re somebody who is a great listener, is your great listening making it onto the page?” And that’s really the moment where a young writer will sometimes make a leap. And then instead of keeping your best gifts outside the door, you let them in and you’re just yourself. The problem is, you can’t simply decide, “Oh, what are my charms? I’ll make a list.” It’s much more intuitive and it takes a lot of rewriting to get there. But it starts with a feeling of frustration, that what you really know or care about is not showing up in your work.’

Read more in our podcast interview with George Saunders

2017 Man Booker Prize winner George Saunders