Friday, March 03, 2017

Lincoln at the Bardo by George Saunders




https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2017/02/08/grief-ghosts-and-america-lincoln-bardo/1VuOyXTYnREDjOh4clbhiN/story.html

almost too rich to quote:  I could cite the whole thing.  Stunning consisent beautfiul voice.

compare to Dante
compare the Spoon River
compare to our town

liminal sketching of Lincoln

three main narrators, Blevin and the Rev. and ??

the emotional climax at the end:  the black man's ghost enters Lincoln and decides to go with him, out of the cemetary and back to Wash DC, as Lincoln decide to pull for both black and white from then on.

Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions. For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.

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