The Elliott Bay Book Company presents: George Saunders
Tue, Feb 28 at 7:30pm
Elliott Bay Book Company presents
Tuesday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall Seattle
All kinds of anticipation is greeting esteemed fiction writer George Saunders and his dazzling, extraordinary first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House). Long one of this country’s masters of the short-story, he blows things open with this incredibly moving novel. “Even though Saunders (Tenth of December), the much-heralded author of distinctively inventive short stories, anchors his first novel to a historical moment—the death of President Abraham Lincoln’s young son, Willie, in February 1862—this is most emphatically not a conventional work of historical fiction. The surreal action takes place in a cemetery, and most of the expressive, hectic characters are dead, caught in the bardo, the mysterious transitional state following death and preceding rebirth, heaven, or hell. Their vivid narration resembles a play, or a prose variation on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, as they tell their stories, which range from the gleefully ribald to the tragic in tales embodying the dire conflicts underlying the then-raging Civil War. On pages laddered with brilliantly “curated” quotes from books and historical documents (most actual, some concocted), Saunders cannily sets the stage for Lincoln’s true-life, late-night visits to the crypt, where he cradles his son’s body—scenes of epic sorrow turned grotesque by the morphing spirits’ frantic reactions. Saunders creates a provocative dissonance between his exceptionally compassionate insights into the human condition and Lincoln’s personal and presidential crises and this macabre carnival of the dead, a wild and wily improvisation on the bardo that mirrors, by turns, the ambience of Hieronymus Bosch and Tim Burton. A boldly imagined, exquisitely sensitive, sharply funny, and utterly unnerving historical and metaphysical drama.” — Donna Seaman, Booklist. Tickets ($35 ticket includes a copy of Lincoln in the Bardo and admits one person / $40 ticket includes a copy of Lincoln in the Bardo and admits two people. There will also be student/under 25 (with ID) admission of $5 at the door the night of the program on a space available basis. (Student tickets do not include a copy of the book) For more information, please see www.elliottbaybook.com, call 206.624.6600, or ask in the store. Town Hall Seattle is at 1119 Eighth Avenue (at Seneca).