Welcome to the Refinery29 Book Club! Each month, members of the team will read a book that has everyone talking, before sharing our thoughts and feelings with you. Join in the conversation or recommend a book for next month in the comments below.
We know what you're thinking. George Saunders: white, middle-aged, male. The winner of 2017's Man Booker prize, which isn't exactly known for championing young, female, diverse voices (a woman has walked away victorious just 17 times in almost 50 years). When you google his name, the internet elves who like to pre-empt your next move suggest you also look up David Foster Wallace, John Updike, Thomas Pynchon: highbrow, high-concept, 'bro' authors with a habit of popping up on the bookshelves of a certain sort of man. What can this book possibly have to do with my life? And what's a 'bardo' anyway?
Well, prepare to change your mind because Lincoln in the Bardo is something else. Undeniably experimental in form – Saunders calls on history and fiction, the living and the dead – it is, nonetheless, breathtakingly human. In Saunders' hands, the death of Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son becomes an exploration of life, love, and loss; of grief and regret; of what happens when we die, and that all-too-common feeling: if only we had a little more time...
So don't be put off by that title ('bardo', by the way, is a Buddhist term for the state of the soul between death and rebirth); this is not a book for bros, it's a book for us all. Click on for more thoughts from the team at Refinery29 UK, or head below the line – we'd love to hear your opinion, too!