Lincoln In The Bardo Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Lincoln In The Bardo. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth. And now we must lose them.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Strange, isn't it? To have dedicated one's life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one's life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one's labors ultimately forgotten?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Only then (nearly out the door, so to speak) did I realize how unspeakably beautiful all of this was, how precisely engineered for our pleasure, and saw that I was on the brink of squandering a wondrous gift, the gift of being allowed, every day, to wander this vast sensual paradise, this grand marketplace lovingly stocked with every sublime thing.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Not lonely, not lost, not freakish, but wise, each in his or her own way. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand; lowered their faces to tabletops, making animal noises. We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All over now. He is either in joy or nothingness. (So why grieve? The worst of it, for him, is over.) Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I was in error when I saw him as fixed and stable and thought I would have him forever. He was never fixed, nor stable, but always just a passing, temporary energy-burst.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He came out of nothingness, took form, was loved, was always bound to return to nothingness.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Some blows fall too heavy upon those too fragile.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We were perhaps not so unlovable as we had come to believe.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
No one who has ever done anything worth doing has gone uncriticized.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
When a child is lost there is no end to the self-torment a parent may inflict. When we love, and the object of our love is small, weak, and vulnerable, and has looked to us and us alone for protection; and when such protection, for whatever reason, has failed, what consolation (what justification, what defense) may there possibly be?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He came out of nothingness, took form, was loved, was always bound to return to nothingness. Only I did not think it would be so soon. Or that he would precede us. Two passing temporarinesses developed feelings for one another. Two puffs of smoke became mutually fond. I mistook him for a solidity, and now must pay. I am not stable and Mary not stable and the very buildings and monuments here not stable and the greater city not stable and the wide world not stable. All alter, are altering, in every instant. (Are you comforted?) No. (It
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing. Only
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We must see God not as a Him (some linear rewarding fellow) but an IT, a great beast beyond our understanding, who wants something from us, and we must give it, and all we may control is the spirit in which we give it and the ultimate end which the giving serves.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Strange, isn’t it? To have dedicated one’s life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one’s life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one’s labors utterly forgotten?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Oh, the pathos of it! - haggard, drawn into fixed lines of unutterable sadness, with a look of loneliness, as of a soul whose depth of sorrow and bitterness no human sympathy could ever reach. The impression I carried away was that I had seen, not so much the President of the United States, as the saddest man in the world.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And that, against this: the king-types who would snatch the apple from your hand and claim to have grown it, even though what they had, had come to them intact, or been gained unfairly (the nature of that unfairness perhaps being just that they had been born stronger, more clever, more energetic than others), and who, having seized the apple, would eat it so proudly, they seemed to think that not only had they grown it, but had invented the very idea of fruit, too,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And there was nothing left for me to do, but go. Though the things of the world were strong with me still. Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-tilted streetlight; a frozen clock, bird-visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; toweling off one’s clinging shirt post–June rain. Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth. Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The thousand dresses, laid out so reverently that afternoon, flecks of dust brushed off carefully in doorways, hems gathered up for the carriage trip: where are they now? Is a single one museum-displayed? Are some few yet saved in attics? Most are dust. As are the women who wore them so proudly in that transient moment of radiance.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Not lonely, not lost, not freakish, but wise, each in his or her own way. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand; lowered their faces to tabletops, making animal noises. We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
One feels such love for the little ones, such anticipation that all that is lovely in life will be known by them, such fondness for that set of attributes manifested uniquely in each: mannerisms of bravado, of vulnerability, habits of speech and mispronouncement and so forth; the smell of the hair and head, the feel of the tiny hand in yours—and then the little one is gone! Taken! One is thunderstruck that such a brutal violation has occurred in what had previously seemed a benevolent world. From nothingness, there arose great love; now, its source nullified, that love, searching and sick, converts to the most abysmal suffering imaginable.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Each night passed with a devastating sameness.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Trap. Horrible trap. At one’s birth it is sprung. Some last day must arrive. When you will need to get out of this body. Bad enough. Then we bring a baby here. The terms of the trap are compounded. That baby also must depart. All pleasures should be tainted by that knowledge. But hopeful dear us, we forget. Lord, what is this?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I was in error when I saw him as fixed and stable and thought I would have him forever. He was never fixed, nor stable, but always just a passing, temporary energy-burst. I had reason to know this. Had he not looked this way at birth, that way at four, another way at seven, been made entirely anew at nine? He had never stayed the same, even instant to instant. He came out of nothingness, took form, was loved, was always bound to return to nothingness. Only I did not think it would be so soon. Or that he would precede us. Two passing temporarinesses developed feelings for one another. Two puffs of smoke became mutually fond. I mistook him for a solidity and now must pay.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We have loved each other well, dear Willie, but now, for reasons we cannot understand, that bond has been broken. But our bond can never be broken. As long as I live, you will always be with me, child.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He was not perfect; he was, remember, a little boy. Could be wild, naughty, overwrought. He was a boy. However - it must be said - he was quite a good boy.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I was in error when I saw him as fixed and stable and thought I would have him forever. He was never fixed, nor stable, but always just a passing, temporary energy-burst.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined to sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in the world one must try to remember that all were suffering (non content all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone, and given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it. All were in sorrow, or had been, or soon would be. It was the nature of things. Though on the surface is seemed every person was different, this was not true. At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end; the many loses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering limited beings- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces. His sympathy extended to all in this instant, blundering in its strict logic, across all divides.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
There was nothing left for me to do, but go. Though the things of the world were strong with me still. Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain. Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth. Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease. A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse. Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded. The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger. Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead. Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it. Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day. Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left. Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac. None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth. And now we must lose them. I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant. Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Across the sea fat kings watched and were gleeful, that something begun so well had now gone off the rails (as down South similar kings watched), and if it went off the rails, so went the whole kit, forever, and if someone ever thought to start it up again, well, it would be said (and said truly): The rabble cannot manage itself. Well, the rabble could. The rabble would. He would lead the rabble in managing. The thing would be won.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
There was a touch of prairie about the fellow. --hans vollman Yes. --roger bevins iii Like stepping into a summer barn late at night. --hans vollman Or a musty plains office, where some bright candle still burns. --roger bevins iii Vast. Windswept. New. Sad. --hans vollman Spacious. Curious. Doom-minded. Ambitious. --roger bevins iii Back slightly out. --hans vollman Right boot chafing. --roger bevins iii
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He never appeared ugly to me, for his face, beaming with boundless kindness and benevolence towards mankind, had the stamp of intellectual beauty.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Doubt will fester as long as we live. And when one occasion of doubt has been addressed, another and then another will arise in its place.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Love, love, I know what you are.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Kind little words, which are of the same blood as great and holy deeds,” flowed from his lips constantly.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
(So why grieve? The worst of it, for him, is over.) Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing. Only there is nothing left to do. Free
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All men labor under some impingements on their freedom; none is absolutely at liberty.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Two passing temporarinesses developed feelings for one another. Two puffs of smoke became mutually fond.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He was the sort of child people imagine their children will be, before they have children.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Why will it not work. What magic word made it work. Who is the keeper of that word. What did it profit Him to switch this one off. What a contraption it is. How did it ever run. What spark ran it. Grand little machine. Set up just so. Receiving the spark, it jumped to life.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Having come so close to losing everything, I am freed now of all fear, hesitation, and timidity, and, once revived, intend to devoutly wander the earth, imbibing, smelling, sampling, loving whomever I please; touching, tasting, standing very still among the beautiful things of this world,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
A warm breeze arose, fragrant with all manner of things that give comfort: grass, sun, beer, bread, quilts, cream—this list being different for each of us, each being differently comforted. roger
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I felt myself a new species of child. Not a boy (most assuredly) but neither a (mere) girl. That skirt-bound race perpetually moving about serving tea had nothing to do with me. I had such high hopes, you see. The boundaries of the world seemed vast. I would visit Rome, Paris, Constantinople. Underground cafés presented in my mind where, crushed against wet walls, a (handsome, generous) friend and I sat discussing—many things. Deep things, new ideas. Strange green lights shone in the streets, the sea lapped nearby against greasy tilted moorings; there was trouble afoot, a revolution, into which my friend and I must— Well, as is often the case, my hopes were…not realized.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Had been bulky men, quietly content, who, in our first youth, had come to grasp our own unremarkableness and had, cheerfully (as if bemusedly accepting a heavy burden), shifted our life’s focus; if we would not be great, we would be useful.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki The Overstory by Richard Powers The Farm by Joanne Ramos The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Kazuo Ishiguro (Klara and the Sun)
O Lord I cannot bear the thought of Philip lying still in such a place as this and when that thought arises must hum some scrap of tune energetically while praying No no no take that cup away Lord let me go first before any of them I love (before Philip Mary Jack Jr before dear Lydia) only that’s no good either since when they reach their end I will not be there to help them?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
. . . I had my moments. My free, uninterrupted, discretionary moments. Strange, though: it is the memory of those moments that bothers me the most. The thought, specifically, that other men enjoyed whole lifetimes comprised of such moments. (Thomas Havens)
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All over now. He is either in joy or nothingness. (So why grieve? The worst of it, for him, is over.) Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing. Only there is nothing left to do.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We Three had never Wed, not truly Lov’d, but once Night fell again, and if we found ourselves Resident here, might strike the ‘never’- stanley ‘prefesser’ lippert For uni we are ended, ‘never’ may not be truly said. jack ‘malarky’ fuller And love may yet be ours gene ‘rascal’ kane
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Great sobs choked his utterance. He buried his head in his hands, and his tall frame was convulsed with emotion. I stood at the foot of the bed, my eyes full of tears, looking at the man in silent, awe-stricken wonder. His grief unnerved him, and made him a weak, passive child. I did not dream that his rugged nature could be so moved. I shall never forget those solemn moments—genius and greatness weeping over love’s lost idol.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Ghost-Managing Book List The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor
Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
Sometimes we might poop a bit if we are fresh. Which is just what I did, out on the cart that day: I pooped a bit while fresh, in my sick-box, out of rage, and what was the result? I have kept that poop with me all this time, and as a matter of fact—I hope you do not find this rude, young sir, or off-putting, I hope it does not impair our nascent friendship—that poop is still down there, at this moment, in my sick-box, albeit much dryer!
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa 1984 by George Orwell A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki The Overstory by Richard Powers The Farm by Joanne Ramos The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Kazuo Ishiguro (Klara and the Sun)
You were a joy, he said. Please know that. Know that you were a joy. To us. Every minute, every season, you were a—you did a good job. A good job of being a pleasure to know.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
From nothingness, there arose great love; now, its source nullified, that love, searching and sick, converts to the most abysmal suffering imaginable.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And we rode forward into the night, past the sleeping houses of our countrymen.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Of suddenly remembering what was lost.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
But hopeful dear us, we forget.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
That day I learned a person can get used to anything. Soon it all seemed normal to us, and we even joked about it,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Our grief must be defeated; it must not become our master, and make us ineffective, and put us even deeper into the ditch.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
CVIII.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
never appeared ugly to me, for his face, beaming with boundless kindness and benevolence towards mankind, had the stamp of intellectual beauty.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Had been grandmothers, tolerant and frank, recipients of certain dark secrets, who, by the quality of their unjudging listening, granted tacit forgiveness, and thus let in the sun.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
For until we are ended, “never” may not be truly said. jack “malarkey” fuller And love may yet be ours. gene “rascal” kane
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We are ready, sir; are angry, are capable, our hopes are coiled up so tight as to be deadly, or holy: turn us loose, sir, let us at it, let us show what we can do.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
By Fate, by Destiny, said the Vermonter. By the fact that time runs in only one direction, and we are borne along by it, influenced precisely as we are, to do just the things that we do, the bass lisper said.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And there was nothing left for me to do, but go. Though the things of the world were strong with me still. Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-tilted streetlight; a frozen clock, bird-visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; toweling off one’s clinging shirt post–June rain. Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth. Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease. A bloody roast death-red on a platter; a hedgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse. Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded. The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger. Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
How could we have been otherwise? Or, being that way, have done otherwise? We were that way, at that time, and had been led to that place, not by any innate evil in ourselves, but by the state of our cognition and our experience up until that moment.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All gifts are temporary. I unwillingly surrender this one. And thank you for it. God. Or world. Whoever it was gave it to me, I humbly thank you, and pray that I did right by him, and may, as I go ahead, continue to do right by him. Love, love, I know what you are.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Whatever failures you feel you may have been responsible for, leave them behind you now, she said. All turned out beautifully. Come with us. Come where though? I said. I don't - You are a wave that has crashed upon the shore, she said. See, I don't get that, I said.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All were in sorrow, or had been, or soon would be. It was the nature of things. Though on the surface is seemed every person was different, this was not true. At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end; the many loses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering limited beings- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces. His sympathy extended to all in this instant, blundering in its strict logic, across all divides.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering, limited beings-- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The terror and consternation of the Presidential couple may be imagined by anyone who has ever loved a child, and suffered that dread intimation common to all parents, that Fate may not hold that life in as high a regard, and may dispose of it at will. In “Selected Civil War Letters of Edwine Willow,” edited by Constance Mays. With
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And proceeded past Trevor Williams, former hunter, seated before the tremendous heap of all the animals he had dispatched in his time: hundreds of deer, thirty-two black bear, three bear cubs, innumerable coons, lynx, foxes, mink, chipmunks, wild turkeys, woodchucks, and cougars; scores of mice and rats, a positive tumble of snakes, hundreds of cows and calves, one pony (carriage-struck), twenty thousand or so insects, each of which he must briefly hold, with loving attention, for a period ranging from several hours to several months, depending on the quality of loving attention he could muster and the state of fear the beast happened to have been in at the time of its passing.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
(the nature of that unfairness perhaps being just that they had been born stronger, more clever, more energetic than others), and who, having seized the apple, would eat it so proudly, they seemed to think that not only had they grown it, but had invented the very idea of fruit, too, and the cost of this lie fell on the hearts of the low (Mr.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Though on the surface it seemed every person was different, this was not true. At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering, limited beings -- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Trap. Horrible trap. At one’s birth it is sprung. Some last day must arrive. When you will need to get out of this body. Bad enough. Then we bring a baby here. The terms of the trap are compounded. That baby also must depart. All pleasures should be tainted by that knowledge. But hopeful dear us, we forget. Lord, what is this? All of this walking about, trying, smiling, bowing, joking? This sitting-down-at-table, pressing-of-shirts, tying-of-ties, shining-of-shoes, planning-of-trips, singing-of-songs-in-the-bath? When he is to be left out here? Is a person to nod, dance, reason, walk, discuss? As before? A parade passes. He can’t rise and join. Am I to run after it, take my place, lift knees high, wave a flag, blow a horn? Was he dear or not? Then let me be happy no more.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it. hans vollman All
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Everything nonsense now. Those mourners came up. Hands extended. Sons intact. Wearing on their faces enforced sadness-masks to hide any sign of their happiness, which—which went on. They could not hide how alive they yet were with it, with their happiness at the potential of their still-living sons. Until lately I was one of them. Strolling whistling through the slaughterhouse, averting my eyes from the carnage, able to laugh and dream and hope because it had not yet happened to me. To us.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Totally Biased List of Tookie’s Favorite Books Ghost-Managing Book List The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor Short Perfect Novels Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabel Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson Sula, by Toni Morrison The Shadow-Line, by Joseph Conrad The All of It, by Jeannette Haine Winter in the Blood, by James Welch Swimmer in the Secret Sea, by William Kotzwinkle The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald First Love, by Ivan Turgenev Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf Waiting for the Barbarians, by J. M. Coetzee Fire on the Mountain, by Anita Desai
Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
Only then (nearly out the door, so to speak) did I realize how unspeakably beautiful all of this was, how precisely engineered for our pleasure, and saw that I was on the brink of squandering a wondrous gift, the gift of being allowed, every day, to wander this vast sensual paradise, this grand marketplace lovingly stocked with every sublime thing: swarms of insects dancing in slant-rays of august sun; a trio of black horses standing hock-deep and head-to-head in a field of snow; a waft of beef broth arriving breeze-borne from an orange-hued window on a chill autumn—
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Forgoing eternally, sir, such things as, for example: two fresh-shorn lambs bleat in a new-mown field; four parallel blind-cast linear shadows creep across a sleeping tabby’s midday flank; down a bleached-slate roof and into a patch of wilting heather bounce nine gust-loosened acorns; up past a shaving fellow wafts the smell of a warming griddle (and early morning pot-clangs and kitchen-girl chatter); in a nearby harbor a mansion-sized schooner tilts to port, sent so by a flag-rippling, chime-inciting breeze that causes, in a port-side schoolyard, a chorus of childish squeals and the mad barking of what sounds like a dozen—
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And there was nothing left for me to do, but go. Though the things of the world were strong with me still. Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-tilted streetlight; a frozen clock, bird-visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; toweling off one's clinging shirt post-June rain. Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth. Someone's kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease/ A bloody roast death-red on a platter; a hedgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse. Geese above, clover below, the sound of one's own breath when winded. The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one's beloved's name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger. Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor Short Perfect Novels Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson Sula, by Toni Morrison The Shadow-Line, by Joseph Conrad
Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor
Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
«…страждають усі (ніхто не вдоволений життям цілковито; з усіма поводяться несправедливо, всіх нехтують, навмисно не помічають, хибно розуміють), а тому всі повинні робити все можливе, щоб трохи полегшити тягар на плечах у тих, з ким їх зводить на життєвому шляху доля…»
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
You are a wave that has crashed upon the shore,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All gifts are temporary.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We were as we were” …”how could we have been otherwise? Or, being that way, have done otherwise? We were that way, at that time, and had been led to that place, not by any innate evil in ourselves, but by the state of our cognition and experience up until that moment
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
If such things as goodness and brotherhood and redemption exist, and may be attained, these must sometimes require blood, vengeance, the squirming terror of the former perpetrator, the vanquishing of the heartless oppressor.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Having come so close to losing everything, I am freed now of all fear, hesitation, and timidity, and, once revived, intent to devoutly wander the earth, imbibing, smelling, sampling, loving whomever I please; touching, tasting, standing very still among the beautiful things of this world, such as, for example: a sleeping dog dream-kicking in a tree-shade triangle; a sugar pyramid upon a blackwood tabletop being rearranged grain-by-grain by an indiscernible draft; a cloud passing ship-like above a rounded green hill, atop which a line of colored shirts energetically dance in the wind, while down below in town, a purple-blue day unfolds (the muse of spring incarnate), each most-grasses, flower pierced yard gone positively mad with—" Saunders, 27
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Having come so close to losing everything, I am freed now of all fear, hesitation, and timidity, and, once revived, intend to devoutly wander the earth, imbibing, smelling, sampling, loving whomever I please; touching, tasting, standing very still among the beautiful things of this world, such as, for example: a sleeping dog dream-kicking in a tree-shade triangle; a sugar pyramid upon a blackwood tabletop being rearranged grain-by-grain by an indiscernible draft; a cloud passing ship-like above a rounded green hill, atop which a line of colored shirts energetically dance in the wind, while down below in town, a purple-blue day unfolds (the muse of spring incarnate), each most-grasses, flower pierced yard gone positively mad with—" Saunders, 27
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Having come so close to losing everything, I am freed now of all fear, hesitation, and timidity, and, once revived, intend to devoutly wander the earth, imbibing, smelling, sampling, loving whomever I please; touching, tasting, standing very still among the beautiful things of this world, such as, for example: a sleeping dog dream-kicking in a tree-shade triangle; a sugar pyramid upon a blackwood tabletop being rearranged grain-by-grain by an indiscernible draft; a cloud passing ship-like above a rounded green hill, atop which a line of colored shirts energetically dance in the wind, while down below in town, a purple-blue day unfolds (the muse of spring incarnate), each moist-grasses, flower pierced yard gone positively mad with—" Saunders, 27
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
That thing in my box? he said. Has nothing to do with me.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
In the private letters of Albert Sloane, by permission of the Sloane family.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
One feels such love for the little ones, such anticipation that all that is lovely in life will be known by them, such fondness for that set of attributes manifested uniquely in each: mannerisms of bravado, of vulnerability, habits of speech and mispronouncement and so forth; the smell of the hair and head, the feel of the tiny hand in yours—and then the little one is gone! Taken!
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it. hans vollman
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Then, with no change in size at all (i.e., while still child-sized), he displayed his various future-forms (forms he had, alas, never succeeded in attaining): Nervous young man in wedding-coat; Naked husband, wet-groined with recent pleasure; Young father leaping out of bed to light a candle at a child’s cry; Grieving widower, hair gone white; Bent ancient fellow with an ear trumpet, athwart a stump, swatting at flies All the while seeming quite innocent of these alterations
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All over now. He is either in joy or nothingness. (So why grieve? The worst of it, for him, is over.) Because I loved him so and am in the habit of loving him and that love must take the form of fussing and worry and doing.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Friend: We are here. Already here. Within. A train approaches a wall at a fatal rate of speed. You hold a switch in your hand, that accomplishes you know not what: do you throw it? Disaster is otherwise assured. It costs you nothing. Why not try?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
It seemed that way to you, the Brit said. It did, it truly did, the bass lisper said. Does it seem that way to you now? the woman asked. Less so, the bass lisper said sadly. Then your punishment is having the desired effect, the woman said.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
But, as applied to me, this teaching did not satisfy.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And proceeded past Trevor Williams, former hunter, seated before the tremendous heap of all the animals he had dispatched in his time: hundreds of deer, thirty-two black bear, three bear cubs, innumerable coons, lynx, foxes, mink, chipmunks, wild turkeys, woodchucks, and cougars; scores of mice and rats, a positive tumble of snakes, hundreds of cows and calves, one pony (carriage-struck), twenty thousand or so insects, each of which he must briefly hold, with loving attention, for a period ranging from several hours to several months, depending on the quality of loving attention he could muster and the state of fear the beast happened to have been in at the time of its passing. Being thus held (the product of time and loving attention and being found sufficient, that is), that particular creature would heave up, then drive or fly or squirm away, diminishing Mr. Williams heap by one.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
This, it occurred to me, this was the undisciplined human community that, fired by its dull collective wit, now drove the armed nation towards it knew-not-what sort of epic martial cataclysm: a massive flailing organism with all the rectitude and foresight of an untrained puppy. --In the private letters of Albert Sloane, by permission of the Sloane family.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Sir, if you are as powerful as I feel that you are, and as inclined toward us as you seem to be, endeavor to do something for us, so that we might do something for ourselves. We are ready, sir; are angry, are capable, our hopes are coiled up so tight as to be deadly, or holy: turn us loose, sir, let us at it, let us show what we can do. --thomas havens
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The terror and the consternation of the Presidential couple may be imagined by anyone who has ever lived a child, and suffered that dread intimation common to all parents, that Fate may not hold that life in as high a regard, and may dispose of it at will. - In "Selected Civil War Letters of Edwine Willow", edited by Constance Mays
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The cheeks of the sailors grew pale at the sight—and their eyes glistened with the gleam of the light—and the smoke in thick wreaths mounted higher and higher—Oh God it is fearful to perish by fire! Kunhardt
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Mrs. Ellis was a stately, regal woman, always surrounded by three gelatinous orbs floating about her person, each containing a likeness of one of her daughters. At times these orbs grew to extreme size, and would bear down upon her, and crush out her blood and other fluids as she wriggled beneath their terrible weight, refusing to cry out, as this would indicate displeasure, and at other times these orbs departed from her and she was greatly tormented, and must rush about trying to find them, and when she did, would weep in relief, at which time they would once again begin bearing down upon her; but the worst torment of all for Mrs. Ellis was when one of the orbs would establish itself before her eyes exactly life-sized and become completely translucent and she would thus be able to mark the most fine details of the clothing, facial expression, disposition, etc., of the daughter inside, who, in a heartfelt manner, would begin explaining some difficulty into which she had lately been thrust (especially in light of Mrs. Ellis’s sudden absence). Mrs. Ellis would show the most acute judgment and abundant love as she explained, in a sympathetic voice, how the afflicted child might best address the situation at hand—but alas (herein lay the torment) the child could not see or hear her in the least, and would work herself, before the eyes of Mrs. Ellis, into ever-increasing paroxysms of despair, as the poor woman began to dash about, trying to evade the orb, which would pursue her with what can only be described as a sadistic intelligence, anticipating her every move, thrusting itself continually before her eyes, which, as far as I could tell, were incapable, at such times, of closing. the reverend everly thomas
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth. And now must lose them. I
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Our path is not for everyone. Many people—I do not mean to disparage them? Lack the necessary resolve.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We’re done. Don’t you see?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
None of that ever was, he said. And it never will be.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
all of it, all of that bounty, was for everyone, for everyone to use, seemingly put here to teach a man to be free, to teach that a man could be free, that any man, any free white man, could come from as low a place as he had (a rutting sound coming from the Cane cabin, he had looked in through the open door and seen two pairs of still-socked feet and a baby toddling past, steadying herself by grasping one of the rutters’ feet), and even a young fellow who had seen that, and lived among those, might rise, here, as high as he was inclined to go.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
A fat green crescent hung above the mad scene like a stolid judge, inured to all human folly.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And now must lose them.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Una trappola. Un’orribile trappola. Che scatta quando nasci. Primo o poi l’ultimo giorno arriva. Il giorno in cui devi uscire dal tuo corpo. Ed è già brutto. Poi metti al mondo un bambino. I termini della trappola si inaspriscono. Anche quel bambino dovrà andarsene. Ogni piacere sarà guastato da quella consapevolezza. Ma noi, sempre speranzosi, ce lo scordiamo. Signore, perché? Perché tutto questo camminare, provare, sorridere, fare inchini, scherzare? Sedersi a tavola, stirare camicie, annodare cravatte, lucidare scarpe, programmare gite, cantare canzoni al bagno? Se poi devo lasciarlo quaggiù? Devo annuire, ballare, ragionare, camminare, discutere? Come prima? Sta sfilando la parata. Lui non può alzarsi e unirsi agli altri. Devo rincorrerla, prendere il mio posto, marciare impettito, sventolare una bandiera, suonare la tromba? Era amato o no? Allora fa’ che io non sia più felice.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We must try to see one another in this way. roger bevins iii As suffering, limited beings— hans vollman
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He was leaving here broken, awed, humbled, diminished.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Reduced, ruined, remade. roger bevins iii Merciful, patient, dazzled. hans vollman And yet. roger bevins iii
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Ruinmore, ruinmore, we felt, must endeavor not to ruinmore.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His heart dropped at the thought of the killing. hans vollman Did the thing merit it. Merit the killing. On the surface it was a technicality (mere Union) but seen deeper, it was something more.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
As that gentleman passed through, I felt a kinship.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
He had no aversion to me, is how I might put it. Or rather, he had once had such an aversion, still bore traces of it, but, in examining that aversion, pushing it into the light, had somewhat, already, eroded it. He was an open book. An opening book. That had just been opened up somewhat wider. By sorrow. And—by us. By all of us, black and white, who had so recently mass-inhabited him.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Sir, if you are as powerful as I feel that you are, and as inclined toward us as you seem to be, endeavor to do something for us, so that we might do something for ourselves. We are ready, sir; are angry, are capable, our hopes are coiled up so tight as to be deadly, or holy: turn us loose, sir, let us at it, let us show what we can do.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth. And now must lose them. I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant. Goodbye goodbye good—
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact;
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
A train approaches a wall at a fatal rate of speed. You hold a switch in your hand, that accomplishes you know not what: do you throw it? Disaster is otherwise assured. It costs you nothing. Why not try?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
All were in sorrow, or had been, or soon would be. roger bevins iii It was the nature of things. hans vollman Though on the surface it seemed every person was different, this was not true. roger bevins iii At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end. hans vollman We must try to see one another in this way. roger bevins iii As suffering, limited beings— hans vollman Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces. roger bevins iii
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I said I didn’t know about any of that but sure would fancy another of those pills. Come with us then, Miranda said. The McBains in the gully paused to listen. As did the cows. As did, somehow, the barn. I was so tired and had been tired for ever so long. I believe I will come with, I said.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Having never loved or been loved in that previous place, they were frozen here in a youthful state of perpetual emotional vacuity; interested only in freedom, profligacy, and high-jinks, railing against any limitation or commitment whatsoever.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Sometimes we might poop a bit if we are fresh.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
When confronted with some little unfairness, his face would darken with concern, and his eyes well up with tears, as if, in that unfortunate particular, he had intuited the injustice of the larger enterprise. Once a playmate brought along a dead robin he had just killed with a stone, held tong-like between two sticks. Willie spoke brusquely to the boy, seized the bird away, took it off to bury it, was low and quiet for the rest of the day.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We were as we were! the bass lisper barked. How could we have been otherwise? Or, being that way, have done otherwise? We were that way, at that time, and had been led to that place, not by any innate evil in ourselves, but by the state of our cognition and our experience up until that moment.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His headstrong nature, a virtue in that previous place, imperils him here, where the natural law, harsh and arbitrary, brooks no rebellion, and must be scrupulously obeyed.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Oh it was nice, he said sadly. So nice there. But we can't go back. To how we were. All we can do is what we should.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
But (we stopped ourselves short) was this not just wishful thinking? Weren't we, in order to enable ouselves to go on, positing from our boy a blessing we could not possibly verify? Yes. Yes we were. But we must do so, and believe it, or else we were ruined. And we must not be ruined. But must go on.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end; the many loses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering limited beings- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
A parade passes. He can’t rise and join. Am I to run after it, take my place, lift knees high, wave a flag, blow a horn? Was he dear or not? Then let me be happy no more.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And off they went, emitting a perfect major triad via fart-noises with their mouths,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
This, it occurred to me, this was the undisciplined human community that, fired by its dull collective wit, now drove the armed nation towards it knew-not-what sort of epic martial cataclysm: a massive flailing organism with all the rectitude and foresight of an untrained puppy. In the private letters of Albert Sloane, by permission of the Sloane family.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We were low, lost, an object of ridicule, had almost nothing left, were failing, must take some action to halt our fall, and restore ourselves to ourselves. hans vollman
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
It was the nature of things. hans vollman Though on the surface it seemed every person was different, this was not true. roger bevins iii At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end, the many losses we must experience on the way to that end. hans vollman We must try to see one another in this way. roger bevins iii As suffering, limited beings— hans vollman Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces. roger bevins iii His sympathy extended to all in this instant, blundering, in its strict logic, across all divides. hans vollman He was leaving here broken, awed, humbled, diminished. roger bevins iii Ready to believe anything of this world. hans vollman Made less rigidly himself through this
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
loss. roger bevins iii Therefore quite powerful. hans vollman Reduced, ruined, remade. roger bevins iii Merciful, patient, dazzled. hans vollman
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Our grief must be defeated; it must not become our master, and make us ineffective, and put us even deeper into the ditch. roger bevins iii
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
XCIV.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
XCVI.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
been granted the great mother-gift: robert g. twistings Time. lance durning More time. percival “dash” collier CVI.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The dead lay as they had fallen, in every conceivable shape, some grasping their guns as though they were in the act of firing, while others, with a cartridge in their icy grasp, were in the act of loading. Some of the countenances wore a peaceful, glad smile, while on others rested a fiendish look of hate. It looked as though each countenance was the exact counterpart of the thoughts that were passing through the mind when the death messenger laid them low. Perhaps that noble-looking youth, with his smiling up-turned face, with his glossy ringlets matted with his own life-blood, felt a mother’s prayer stealing over his senses as his young life went out. Near him lay a young husband with a prayer for his wife and little one yet lingering on his lips. Youth and age, virtue and evil, were represented on those ghastly countenances. Before us lay the charred and blackened remains of some who had been burnt alive. They were wounded too badly to move and the fierce elements consumed them.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Broken. Pale broken thing. Why will it not work. What magic word made it work. Who is the keeper of that word. What did it profit Him to switch this one off. What a contraption it is. How did it ever run. What spark ran it. Grand little machine. Set up just so. Receiving the spark, it jumped to life. What put out that spark? What a sin it would be. Who would dare. Ruin such a marvel. Hence is murder anathema
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Until lately I was one of them. Strolling whistling through the slaughterhouse, averting my eyes from the carnage, able to laugh and dream and hope because it had not yet happened to me. To us.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Showed no sign of abating. roger bevins iii Was proceeding with a fury that suggested the two might well fight on into eternity. hans vollman Unless some fundamental and unimaginable alteration of reality should occur.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The war was less than a year old. We did not yet know what it was. In “A Thrilling Youth: A Civil War Adolescence,” by E. G. Frame.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Oh, the pathos of it!—haggard, drawn into fixed lines of unutterable sadness, with a look of loneliness, as of a soul whose depth of sorrow and bitterness no human sympathy could ever reach. The impression I carried away was that I had seen, not so much the President of the United States, as the saddest man in the world.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
In those girls I found my Rome, my Paris, my Constantinople.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
If my wife wishes to leave me, may I compel her at arms to stay in our “union”? Especially when she is a fiercer fighter than I, better organized, quite determined to be free of me?
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
So we have the dilemma put to us, What to do, when his power must continue two years longer and when the existence of our country may be endangered before he can be replaced by a man of sense. How hard, in order to save the country, to sustain a man who is incompetent.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
No one who has ever done anything worth doing has gone uncriticized. As regards the matter at hand (as regards him), I am, at least, above any— Thus thought Mr. Lincoln. But
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
From nothingness, there arose great love; now, its source nullified, that love, searching and sick, converts to the most abysmal suffering imaginable. In
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
You know another word for "party"? Celebration. You know another word for "celebrate"? Have f——ing fun. Make f——ing merry.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Quick check, said Christ’s emissary from his seat at the diamond table. The being on the right held the mirror up before the red-bearded fellow. The being on the left reached into the red-bearded man’s chest and, with a deft and somehow apologetic movement, extracted the man’s heart, and placed it on the scale. The being on the right checked the mirror. The being on the left checked the scale. Very good, said the Christ-emissary. We are so happy for you, said the being on the right, and I cannot adequately describe the sound of rejoicing that echoed then from across what I now understood to be a vast kingdom extending in all directions around the palace.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Never in my nearly eighty years of life on earth had I experienced a greater or more bitter contrast between happiness (the happiness I felt even glimpsing that exalted tent, from such a great distance) and sadness (I was not within the tent, and even a few seconds without seemed a dreadful eternity).
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
How did you live? asked the being on the right. Tell it truthfully, the other said, as, from either side, they gently touched their heads to his. They recoiled, then withdrew to two gray stone pots set down on either side of that grand hall, into which they vomited twin streams of brightly colored fluid. The small versions of themselves rushed to bring towels, upon which they wiped their mouths. May we confirm? said the one on the right. Wait, what did you see, he said. Is there some— But it was too late. The being on the right sang a single ominous note and out came the several smaller versions of himself, but crippled and grimacing, bearing between them a feces-encrusted mirror. The being on the left sang his (somber, jarring) note, and several smaller versions of himself tumbled out, rolling forth via a series of spastic clumsy gymnastic movements that were somehow accusatory, bearing the scale. Quick check, the Christ-prince said sternly. I’m not sure I completely understood the instructions, the funeral-suited man said. If I might be allowed to— The being on the right held the mirror up before the funeral-suited man, and the being on the left reached into the funeral-suited man’s chest with a deft and aggressive movement, extracted the man’s heart, and placed it on the scale. Oh dear, said the Christ-emissary. A sound of horrific opprobrium and mourning echoed all across that kingdom.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The diamond doors flew open. I blinked in disbelief at the transformation within. The tent was no longer of silk but flesh (speckled and pink with spoiled blood); the feast was not a feast, but, rather, on long tables inside, numerous human forms were stretched out, in various stages of flaying; the host was no king, no Christ, but a beast, bloody-handed and long-fanged, wearing a sulfur-colored robe, bits of innards speckling it. Visible therein were three women and a bent-backed old man, bearing long ropes of (their own) intestines (terrible!), but most terrible of all was the way they screeched with joy as my funeral-suited friend was dragged in among them, and the way that poor fellow kept smiling, as if attempting to ingratiate himself with his captors, listing the many charitable things he had done back in Pennsylvania, and the numerous good people who would vouch for him, especially in the vicinity of Wilkes-Barre, if only they might be summoned, even as he was wrestled over to the flaying table by several escort-beings apparently constituted entirely of fire, such that, when they grabbed him (their searing touch instantaneously burning away his funeral suit), his pain was so great that he could no longer struggle or move at all, except his head turned briefly in my direction, and his eyes (horror-filled) met mine.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
As I moved about the room I would encounter that silver wedge of a moon at this window or that, like some old beggar who wished to be invited in.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
It is soon to be spring The Christmas toys barely played with I have a glass soldier whose head can turn The epaulettes interchangeable Soon flowers will bloom Lawrence from the garden shed will give us each a cup of seeds I am to wait I said
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Strange, isn’t it? To have dedicated one’s life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one’s life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one’s labors utterly forgotten? lawrence t. decroix Fortunately,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I dozed, and slipped through him, into his horse, who was, I felt at that moment, pure Patience, head to hoof, and fond of the man, and never before had I felt oats to be such a positive thing in the world, or so craved a certain blue blanket.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
So good. Dear little chap. Always knew the right thing to do. And would urge me to do it. I will do it now. Though it is hard. All gifts are temporary. I unwillingly surrender this one. And thank you for it. God. Or world. Whoever it was gave it to me, I humbly thank you, and pray that I did right by him, and may, as I go ahead, continue to do right by him.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
..endeavor to do something for us so that we might do something for ourselves. We are ready sir....
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
the place on G. eddie baron
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Trap. Horrible trap. At one’s birth it is sprung. Some last day must arrive. When you will need to get out of this body. Bad enough. Then we bring a baby here. The terms of the trap are compounded. That baby also must depart. All pleasures should be tainted by that knowledge. But hopeful dear us, we forget.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
and I though, Well, sir, if we are going to make a sadness party of it, I have some sadness about which I think someone as powerful as you might like to know. (..) , and all the things that they had endured, thinking, Sir, if you are as powerful as I feel that you are, and as inclined toward us as you seem to be, endeavor to do something for us, so that we might do something for ourselves.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Two passing temporariness developed feelings for one another. Two puffs of smoke became mutually fond. I mistook him for solidity, and now must pay.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I am not stable and Mary not stable and the very buildings and monuments here not stable and the greater city not stable and the wide world not stable. All alter, are altering, in every instant.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Presidential couple may be imagined by anyone who has ever loved a child, and suffered that dread intimation common to all parents, that Fate may not hold that life in as high a regard, and may dispose of it at will.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
The Presdt is an idiot.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And that, against this: the king-types who would snatch the apple from your hand and claim to have grown it, even though what they had, had come to them intact, or been gained unfairly (the nature of that unfairness perhaps being just that they had been born stronger, more clever, more energetic than others), and who, having seized the apple, would eat it so proudly, they seemed to think that not only had they grown it, but had invented the very idea of fruit, too, and the cost of this lie fell on the hearts of the low (Mr. Bellway rushing his children off their Sangamon porch as he and Father slumped past with that heavy bag of grain drooping between them).
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
something begun so well had now gone off the rails (as down South similar kings watched), and if it went off the rails, so went the whole kit, forever, and if someone ever thought to start it up again, well, it would be said (and said truly): The rabble cannot manage itself. Well, the rabble could. The rabble would. He would lead the rabble in managing. The thing would be won.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
(Perhaps, I thought, this is faith: to believe our God ever receptive to the smallest good intention.)
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I have grown comfortable having these Dead for company, and find them agreeable companions, over there in their Soil & cold stone Houses. In “Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Isabelle Perkins,” compiled and edited by Nash Perkins III, entry of February 25, 1862.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
My husband was not handsome and was not generous. He was a bore. Was not rough with me but neither was he tender.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
And yet I knew with all my heart that Mr. Lincoln was President. We were at war. We were not at war. All was chaos. All was calm. A device had been invented for distant communication. No such device existed. Nor ever could. The notion was mad. And yet I had seen it, had used it; could hear, in my mind, the sound it made as it functioned. It was: telegraph. My God!
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I felt myself a new species of child. Not a boy (most assuredly) but neither a (mere) girl. That skirt-bound race perpetually moving about serving tea had nothing to do with me.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Tell them we are tired of being nothing, and doing nothing, and mattering not at all to anyone, and living in a state of constant fear, the Reverend said.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Strange, isn’t it? To have dedicated one’s life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one’s life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one’s labors utterly forgotten? lawrence t. decroix
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
There was no moon.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Mary Lincoln’s mental health had never been good, and the loss of young Willie ended her life as a functional wife and mother. In “A Mother’s Trial: Mary Lincoln and the Civil War,” by Jayne Coster.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
NONFICTION The Braindead Megaphone Congratulations,
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Then let me be happy no more.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)