Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders’ moving, inventive novel about Abraham Lincoln mourning the death of his young son, won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Tuesday in London.
Saunders, 58, is only the second American to win the British prize in its 49-year history. Paul Beatty was the first, in 2016 for his novel The Sellout.
In 2014, the award was opened to any author writing in English whose book was published in the United Kingdom. Before that, it was open only to writers from the U.K. or Commonwealth countries.
Saunders, best known for his short stories, won the prestigious honor for his first full-length novel. Lincoln in the Bardo became a USA TODAY best seller. I gave the book ★★★★ (out of four) when I reviewed it in February, calling it “exhilarating and theatrical.”
In the book, President Lincoln visits the cemetery where his 11-year-old son, Willie, has just been laid to rest. Channeling Dante, Saunders conjures up a colorful, sometimes comical collection of spirits — including young Willie — who are anything but restful.
Baroness Lola Young, chair of the Man Booker judges, said in a statement: "The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative.”
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