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I’m not a person who listens to music while writing, but in the last throes of writing this book, I sometimes found myself, while on a break, listening to a handful of songs on repeat, mainly to try and viscerally remind myself of what intensity felt like and to quite literally re-energize myself... Saunders grew up in a southwest suburb of Chicago, called Oak Forest.So mostly what I’m doing is trying to figure out the work underneath it. And then if I need something, I just open the hatch on that hopper and let something drop in.So if it becomes apparent that I need a character to be taken down a notch, then I scan my memory for stuff that has happened to me or that I’ve heard of happening, and sometimes a perfect thing will come up or sometimes not, but I’m never researching explicitly.Saunders said that, early in his writing career, he tried to write what he thought was serious literature. “Finally, when I let [humor] in, that’s when my first book got published,” Saunders said. It worked that way because, he said, he was always just a funny guy.He finally let himself into his work and gained a new control of his craft in the process. And if something sticks in your craw, then you carry it around with you, like it or not.Within this transitional state — called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo — a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation.
In the cemetery, Willie is caught in the "Bardo" — the space between transitions — waiting for whatever comes next.Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill.In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Throughout the novel are excerpts from original source materials — some real, some fiction — the identification of which is part of the fun of this wholly original story. His quiet take on parental mourning is heartbreaking, and Lincoln's grief is gorgeously depicted.