US author George Saunders has snatched this year’s Man Booker Prize for his book, “Lincoln in the Bardo” last night by the UK time. He defeats five remarkable writers along with their books; ‘Elmet’ by Fiona Mozley, ‘4 3 2 1” by Paul Auster, ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith, ‘History of Wolves’ by Emily Fridlund and ‘Exit West’ by Mohsin Hamid.
Citing from guardian.com the book is based around a real event: the night in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln buried his 11-year-old son Willie in a Washington cemetery. Imagining the boy trapped in the Bardo – a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo – Saunders’ novel follows the fellow dead, also trapped in the graveyard and unwilling to accept death, who observe the boy as he desperately waits for his father to return.
I honestly just knew about the name of George Saunders after I read an article about this year’s award a few weeks ago. Pardon my very limited literary knowledge and reading scope, my fellas. For my brain and taste can’t move on from the Victorian reading materials, hehe.
A panel of the award’s judges say ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is unique and extraordinary that makes it deserving the title. From the synopsis of the book and how Saunders tells it, I can’t agree more. And I think, just my silly prediction because I haven’t read the book, ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is quite depressing.
The storyline is about kids passing away at early age. And that they or their families find it so difficult to cope with all of that. Reading about this idea has made me mournful. Two things that quickly cross my mind: the innocence of children and grief that is inevitable in our lives.
Thanks to my habit of reading books mostly about the life as the way it is (read: happiness is as important as sadness), I am not shocked by this sort of choice. What makes Saunders’ idea is remarkable is his focus on bringing up children death which for me, is even sadder. Also, the angle from which he presents the story is I think distinctive and quite new for me.
If one thing that makes me taking a few steps back from putting ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ into my upcoming to-be-read list is Saunders’ storytelling technique which mostly consists of dialogues. I dislike this type of conveyance. I prefer to reading stories with a lot of descriptions, metaphors, the sort of reading-beyond-the-lines because I have been accustomed of reading fictions by the Victorian writers.
But since I am up for literary challenges, I will give it a try. After I complete reading ‘Middlemarch’ which is 300 something pages away from completion, LOL.
Anyway, congratulations, Saunders! Creative, exceptional ideas really deserve top prize, like yours!