In 1862, President Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, Willie, died after an illness. Acclaimed writer George Saunders imagines the supernatural moments that immediately follow young Willie’s death in his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo.” The book went on to win the Man Booker Prize.
George Saunders on …
… using the 16th president as inspiration for the book:
“When you’re working with a guy like him, I mean honestly, one thing you’re trying to do is keep him off the page. It’s kind of like writing a novel about Jesus. To come head on is really risky. And you’re constantly walking into the cliche, you know, ‘Four score and seven minutes ago, I did walk into this graveyard.’ You don’t want to do that. So, one of the strategies is to say, ‘Abe, please stay out of my book as much as you can, because you are too difficult.’ And he will agree. And then, theoretically, he only comes in when it’s dramatically necessary.”
>> More: Read the Dallas Morning News book review
This episode originally aired on March 6, 2017.