04 February 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo ~ George Sanders

** OK **

Too much of a good thing?  
Or not enough of anything??

Innovation in writing can be thrilling, a scintillating experience for the reader.  This was ultimately frustrating.  What I was enjoying at the beginning became tedious at the end.  I longed for the whimsical style of the narrative to give way to something more productive, but no, it continued until the end.

There was a lot of ta-da trumpet blowing that this was Saunders, a master of short stories, first novel.  What we were given was a stream of snippets from short stories, almost like an annotated bibliography, thrown together in a cutesy was to give the narrative.  It would possibly make a great radio play (and may have been a much more enjoyable experience as an audiobook).

There was a lot to like about it.  The storyline is unexpected (the "Lincoln" in the title is Willy Lincoln).  The oddball characters and their oddball behaviours are engaging.  The melange of historical fact is informative and interesting.  But in the long run it became a chore, having to make do with finger food when you were expecting a main meal.

The Tibetan word bardo means literally "intermediate state"