Lincoln In The Bardo Awarded 2017 Man Booker Prize For Fiction
Yesterday Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, internationally renowned short story writer, was named winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The 58-year-old New York resident, born in Texas, is the second American author to win the prize in its 49-year history. He was in contention for the prize with other five novels written by two British, one British-Pakistani and two American writers.
Lincoln in the Bardo focuses on a single night in the life of Abraham Lincoln: an actual moment in 1862 when the body of his 11-year-old son was laid to rest in a Washington cemetery. Strangely and brilliantly, Saunders activates this graveyard with the spirits of its dead. The Independent described the novel as ‘completely beguiling’, praising Saunders for concocting a ‘narrative like no other: a magical, mystery tour of the bardo – the “intermediate” or transitional state between one’s death and one’s next birth, according to Tibetan Buddhism.’ Meanwhile, the Guardian wrote that, ‘the short story master’s first novel is a tale of great formal daring...[it] stands head and shoulders above most contemporary fiction, showing a writer who is expanding his universe outwards, and who clearly has many more pleasures to offer his readers.’
As Lola, Baroness Young, 2017 Chair of judges, commented: "The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative. This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy."
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognized as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English. The list of former winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan to Hilary Mantel.
The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm.