Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders had won the Man Booker Prize 2017.
The novel unfolds in a cemetery in 1862, where a grieving Abraham Lincoln visits the crypt that holds the body of his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died of typhoid fever. At the graveyard, Willie’s spirit is joined by a garrulous, diverse community of ghosts who exist in the liminal state between life and death.
“The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” said Lola Young, the judges’ chairwoman. “This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.”
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as one of the most prestigious in the literary world, with previous winners including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, J.M. Coetzee and Ian McEwan.