Execution of Implausible Narrative Technique in George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo



George Saunders, a well-known short fiction writer made his debut with  the novel- Lincoln in the Bardo. His attempt was to eulogize Abraham Lincoln as a lamenting father for his beloved dead son. The unique technique that he has employed in his writing is implausible and beyond recognition, which is the reason for Saunders to be a Man Booker Prize winner of 2017. Unlike several other novels, Lincoln in the Bardo is not narrated by one or two narrators or a few characters, instead, there are a total of one hundred and sixty-six narrators and the other interesting fact is that all of them are ghosts, unaware of their death, sharing their experiences in the graveyard or say 'Bardo'. Bardo is a Tibetan Buddhist term i.e., the intermediate state between death and rebirth. Saunders' motive is not only to project what happens after life but also, he intelligently portrays the other social issues in society. Bardo, the concept, whatever might come after death, helps Saunders to bring into dialogue portraits of people from all levels of society. He metamorphically arranges fantastic shapes with odd tics.


historical; experimental; polyphony; seriocomic, magical realism

Full Text:



Bezeczky, Gabor. “Contending Voices in Bakhtin.†Comparative Literature, vol. 46, no. 4, 1994, pp. 321-345.

Cazden, Courtney. “Writing a Narrative of Multiple Voices.†Edited by Awena Carter et al., 2009, pp. 3-5.

Crawford, Alison. “Oh Yeah! Family Guy as Magical Realism?†Journal of Film and Video, vol. 61, no. 2, 2009, pp. 52–69.

CommComm: Inside The Dizzying Mind Of George Saunders. https://www.litro.co.uk/2017/08/commcomm-inside-dizzying-mind-george-saunders/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2020.

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez | Biography, Books, Nobel Prize, & Facts.†Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gabriel-Garcia-Marquez. Accessed 10 Feb. 2020.

George Saunders. http://www.platform-mag.com/literature/george-saunders.html.

George Saunders: “I Want to Tell the Truth about What Really Matters in a Simple Way†| Salon.Com.https://www.salon.com/2014/01/04/george_saunders_i_want_to_tell_the_truth_about_what_really_matters_in_a_simple_way/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2020.

George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo Gets Virtual Reality Adaptation | EW.Com | EW.Com. https://ew.com/books/2017/02/10/george-saunders-lincoln-bardo-virtual-reality/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2020.

Herman, David., et al., editors. Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. Routledge, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005, pp. 752-749.

“Lincoln in the Bardo Review: George Saunders’ Man Booker Prize Winner.†The Irish Times, https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/lincoln-in-the-bardo-review-george-saunders-man-booker-prize-winner-1.2989866. Accessed 12 Feb. 2020.

Linkletter, Michael. Magical Realism and the ‘Mabinogi: an Exercise in Methodology. Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, vol. 20/21, 2000, pp. 51–63.

“Magic Realism | Definition, Authors, & Facts.†Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/art/magic-realism. Accessed 10 Feb. 2020.

Morse, Donald E. This undiscovered country in Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille and George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo. Institute of English and American Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, 2008, pp. 25-33.

Moseley, Merritt. “Lincoln in the Bardo: ‘Uh, NOT a Historical Novel.’†Humanities, vol. 8, May 2019, p. 96, doi:10.3390/h8020096.

Moss, Tyler. “Interview: George Saunders Discusses Structure, Outlining and ‘Lincoln in the Bardo.’†Writer’s Digest, 9 May 2018, https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/wd-interview-george-saunders-structure-outlining-lincoln-in-the-bardo.

O’Driscoll, Bill. “Author George Saunders Discusses How His Writing Style Is Evolving.†Pittsburgh City Paper, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/author-george-saunders-discusses-how-his-writing-style-is-evolving/Content?oid=1713910. Accessed 10 Feb. 2020.

Saunders, George. Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel. , Random House, 2017.

Takolander, Maria. Magical Realism and Fakery: After Carpentier's ‘Marvelous Real’ and Mudrooroo's ‘Maban Reality.’ Antipodes, vol. 24, no. 2, 2010, pp. 165–171.

Zhongwen, Qian. “Problems of Bakhtin's Theory about ‘Polyphony.’†New Literary History, vol. 28, no. 4, 1997, pp. 779–790.

View Counter

Abstract - 230
PDF - 198


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 MERRY BAGHWAR

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                                                       SUPPORT JOURNAL

ISSN: 2454-2296

E-ISSN: 2395-0897