George Saunders On His Novel 'Lincoln In The Bardo'

Mar 18, 2017

Our guest today on “Two Way Street” is George Saunders. We’re going to talk about his new book “Lincoln in the Bardo,” which has been one of the most eagerly anticipated works of fiction in a long time.

Saunders has won acclaim for the short stories and essays he’s written for the New Yorker, Harpers and other publications over the past couple of decades. 

Four years ago, when his short story collection “The Tenth of December” was released, a New York Times Magazine cover story carried the headline “George Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year.” Many critics agreed that it was an exceptional work.

So when Saunders let it be known following the success of “The Tenth of December” that he was working on his first novel, expectations for what he’d produce began to build in literary circles.

And now that novel is here. “Lincoln in the Bardo” has won extravagant praise from critics, many of whom have called it a masterpiece.

I sat down with Saunders recently to talk about his new book and about his approach to writing; but as you’ll hear, our conversation turned into something that, for me at least, was completely unexpected: the chance to hear Saunders sobering but graceful reflections on confronting our own mortality.