Location: Scottish Rite Cathedral, 500 S. Harwood Street
In his highly anticipated first novel, National Book Award nominee George Saunders delivers a captivating tale about death, grief, and the abiding power of familial love. Set at the dawn of the Civil War, Lincoln in the Bardo explores a moment of great historical significance with touching pathos and an imaginative twist. Amidst the bloody battles, President Lincoln’s son, Willie, only eleven years of age, falls gravely ill and is ultimately laid to rest at the Georgetown Cemetery. Within this historical framework, Saunders spins a fictional story that is both deeply moving and hilarious. On the night of Willie’s death, and stricken with incredible sorrow, Lincoln visits Willie’s crypt, not yet able to let go of his beloved son. Over the course of the novel, Saunders charts the events of that momentous evening in which Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory—what is known in Tibetan culture as the bardo—surrounded by a host of spirits who commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance.
Saunders is a highly decorated author, receiving the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and seven years later winning a Story Prize for his widely acclaimed Tenth of December: Stories. Lauded for his ability to raise questions about morality in a satirical yet honest tone, what Thomas Pynchon has described as “an astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny,” Saunders is sure to enchant readers with his newest literary masterpiece.
Actors from Kitchen Dog Theater will join Saunders onstage for a dramatic reading from the novel.