When published, "Lincoln in the Bardo" received a great deal of attention, winning the Man Booker Prize. As seen from the Amazon reviews, opinions are mixed, ranging from "one of the greatest novels of this century" to "awful". My own opinion is somewhere in between.
A "bardo" is a Buddhist limbo, something like purgatory, and here a number of dead souls reminisce on their lives and discuss topics from politics to racism to philosophy. One of the souls is that of Willie Lincoln, son of the President, who, in the midst of the Civil War, died at the age of twelve.
To the bardo comes Lincoln to converse with his son, just as in real life he spent a great deal of time visiting his tomb.
Interspersed are excerpts from actual letters and memoirs of participants and observers of the War which highlights it`s bloodiness and brutality, and the tremendous pressures on Lincoln from his critics, the death of his son and the deterioration of his wife`s mental state.
Not a great book, not a bad book, but one that is unusual and interesting.