The novel is set in a graveyard over the course of a single night and is narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices. The story is centered around the death of President Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie, who resides in the Bardo, a transitional state between life and rebirth in Tibetan tradition. As Willie interacts with the other spirits stuck in this realm, his father visits the crypt to mourn, causing a struggle among the ghosts over the boy's soul. The narrative explores themes of grief, the impermanence of life, and the unresolved issues that keep us from moving on.
The 940th greatest book of all time
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This book is on the following lists:
- 5th on The 40 Best Novels of the 2010s (Paste Magazine)
- Man Booker Prize (Man Booker Prize)
- 25 Books to Read Before you Die: 21st Century (Powell's Books)
- 222 Best Books of All Time That Deserve a Spot on Your Bookshelf, With Picks from Bestselling Authors and Indie Booksellers (Parade)