Narrated in Lincoln's
own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the
masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.
Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome
Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific
literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham,
Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War.
Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly
mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an
achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.
Tracing the historic arc
of Lincoln’s life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon
County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd,
to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I
Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn
seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who
became the First Lady’s dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost
treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking
knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even
We encounter the
renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and
cardboard shoes, living in a no-man's-land between North and South; as well as
the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in
the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the
black recruits, whom Lincoln's own generals wanted to discard, but who play a
pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is
always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in
the darkest hours of America's bloodiest war.
cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters
and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in
chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie,
and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost
compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human
worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a
haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction. Download and start listening now!