Note: the short video above is very cool, but it is a big fat spoiler.
I’ve been off my reading stride for a good long while, at least when it comes to fiction. I have lots of excuses: sitting at the computer all day typing (and reading), tired eyes and an increasing tendency to fall asleep at the fifth word of anything I try to read before bed, and good British detectives and The West Wing to watch while I knit.
There was a happy ending to my hiatus, though. A few months ago, when Ann surprised me with the gift of a signed copy of Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, it was like discovering fiction all over again. I read it in 2 or 3 days. I laughed, I cried, I puzzled, I mostly cry/laughed. I had never read Saunders before; he was one of those writers I’d heard spoken of highly, and just not gotten around to. Then I saw him on Charlie Rose, with Seth Myers sitting in for Charlie, discussing Lincoln in the Bardo, his new (and first) novel. At one point Seth Myers had tears in his eyes, and I thought, I have to read this book.
So, thanks to Ann, I read it, and I loved it. And then someone on Instagram (Clare, Gal of Napa, it was you) mentioned that she was listening to the audio book, and I asked, who is reading it? And she said, 166 people are reading it. Which totally makes sense. I mean, I read the book. It has more voices than Ken Burns’ The Civil War.
This overcame my longstanding resistance to Audible.com and listening to books. Which was based on nothing reasonable, just technology overload and an attachment to reading things the way I’ve always read things. (I don’t own a Kindle, either. I like books as objects.)
Let this sink in: the first voice you hear is Nick Offerman’s. He’s a major voice, almost a narrator. He’s cast beautifully, as is David Sedaris. As is everybody.
I give this book, in any format, knit-to-able or not, five out of five. I’ve read that Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally have acquired the movie rights. I hope to heck it happens.
Edited to add: At the suggestion of reader Alice, we’ve started a topic in The Lounge where those who have read Lincoln in the Bardo can discuss the book without fear of spoiling it for others. Thanks, Alice!
Note: For more about the book, I recommend this New Yorker article, but I recommend that you read the book first so that nothing is explained prematurely. A big part of my enjoyment of the book was in trying to figure out what was going on.