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Man Booker Prize for Saunder’s First Novel

Man Booker Prize for Saunder’s First NovelMan Booker Prize for Saunder’s First Novel

‘Lincoln in the Bardo,’ a 2017 novel by American writer George Saunders, 58, has won Britain’s most prestigious literary award – the Man Booker Prize.

The book is Saunder’s first novel. It was released in February of this year to widespread acclaim.

It is written around a single quasi-historical image: A year into the Civil War, the president’s son, Willie Lincoln, died of typhoid fever, prompting rumors that the 16th president of US Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) would sneak into his crypt to cradle the dead body in his arms, Vox.com wrote.

‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ tells the story of those visits, from the point of view of the ghosts who haunt the graveyard in which Willie is buried. The novel’s narration switches from ghost to ghost with little warning, and there are so many ghosts - 166, to be exact - that this is at first bewildering and disorienting and then becomes an exhilarating delight.

“This really stood out because of its innovation - its very different styling and the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these not-quite-dead souls in this other world,” said Baroness Lola Young, chair of this year’s Booker Prize judging panel. “There was this juxtaposition of the very personal tragedy of Abraham Lincoln with his public life, as the person who’d really instigated the American Civil War.”

Saunders is a celebrated writer of satirical short stories, but ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is his first novel. He is also the second American to win the Man Booker Prize - last year’s winner, Paul Beatty, 55, was the first. Some have suggested points to the growing Americanization of an award that used to be distinctly British. The Booker Prize was eligible only to citizens of the British Commonwealth until 2014.

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