Cover of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders
Finished: April 25, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Bedtime is for two things:

1. Reading a nice book
2. Getting hit by waves of existential anxiety stoking your fears of death, mortality and oblivion until you feel like you’re suffocating, you feel like you’re in a too-hot bath so you have to get up except this isn’t a too-hot bath you can jump out of. It’s a hot bath you can’t ever jump out of, so even as this wave of anxiety subsides, you know there’s another one coming for you.

If this sounds like your idea of a good evening then, boy, is this the book for you.

Lincoln in the Bardo a beautiful book. It’s witty and unexpected and there are passages (whole characters, actually) that absolutely took my breath away. Each character had their own story, their own voice, and the moment when they form a connection (staying vague because of spoilers), I was reading through floods of tears. At the same time, it took me almost a month to finish because it’s also one of the most difficult things I’ve read (for reasons, see above), so I would approach it every night and ask myself was I mentally ready – was I emotionally ready – for this book tonight? Most nights, the answer was ’no’. But when I was ready, I was consuming the book in huge gulps, because it was all so lovely.