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Extended Audio Sample Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel Audiobook, by George Saunders Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Saunders Narrator: George Saunders, David Sedaris, Nick Offerman, A Full Cast Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2017 ISBN: 9780553397581
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The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December is a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting 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. “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 and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. 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. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance:

Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN
David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III
Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS
George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS
Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD
Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR
Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS
Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS
Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS
Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE
Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON
Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON
Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER
Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE
Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE
Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER
Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX
Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL
Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS
and
Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
with
Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “While it may take a few moments to acclimate to the quirks and syncopated rhythms of this unconventional novel, there’s an undeniable appeal in hearing this impressive cast of narrators…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Feels more like a movie than an audiobook.”

    Wired.com (audio review)

  • “Ingenious…Saunders—well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain—crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows.”

    Vogue

  • “Exhilarating…Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”

    Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review

  • “No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.”

    Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Zadie Smith

  • “Saunders is the most humane American writer working today.”

    Harper’s Magazine

  • “The novel beats with a present-day urgency—a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love . . . Saunders has written an unsentimental novel of Shakespearean proportions, gorgeously stuffed with tragic characters, bawdy humor, terrifying visions, throat-catching tenderness, and a galloping narrative, all twined around the luminous cord connecting a father and son and backlit by a nation engulfed in fire.”

    Elle

  • “Wildly imaginative.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Mesmerizing… Dantesque… A haunting American ballad.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”

    Khaled Hosseini

  • “Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”

    Junot Díaz

  • “George Saunders is a complete original. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”

    Dave Eggers

  • “There is no one like him. He is an original—but everyone knows that.”

    Lorrie Moore

  • “George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We’re lucky to have him.”

    Jonathan Franzen

  • “An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times.”

    Thomas Pynchon

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A BookPage Top Pick for March 2017
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month
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About the Author

George Saunders is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, including Tenth of December, Pastoralia, and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, as well as a collection of essays and a book for children. Saunders is a MacArthur fellow and teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.

About the Narrators

David Sedaris is a playwright and a regular commentator for National Public Radio. He is also the author of the bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Me Talk Pretty One Day. He travels extensively through Europe and the United States on lecture tours and lives in England.

Nick Offerman is an actor, humorist, and woodworker. He is married to the most beautiful and talented actress working today, Megan Mullally. They live in Los Angeles, California, with their poodles and an impressive collection of assorted wood clamps.