Event Information

East Bay Chapters Book Club

May 14, 2018
5:45 PM - 7:00 PM

Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP
2033 N. Main Street, Suite 720
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

East Bay Association of Legal Administrators

The East Bay Chapters

is excited to announce our next book selection

"Lincoln in the Bardo"
and another book TBD

by George Saunders

     “Short-story virtuoso Saunders' first novel is an exhilarating change of pace. The bardo is a key concept of Tibetan Buddhism: a middle, or liminal, spiritual landscape where we are sent between physical lives. It's also a fitting master metaphor for Saunders’ first novel, which is about suspension: historical, personal, familial, and otherwise. The Lincoln of the title is our 16th president, sort of, although he is not yet dead. Rather, he is in a despair so deep it cannot be called mere mourning over his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died of typhoid in 1862.

      Saunders deftly interweaves historical accounts with his own fragmentary, multivoiced narration as young Willie is visited in the netherworld by his father, who somehow manages to bridge the gap between the living and the dead, at least temporarily. But the sneaky brilliance of the book is in the way Saunders uses these encounters—not so much to excavate an individual’s sense of loss as to connect it to a more national state of disarray. 1862, after all, was the height of the Civil War, when the outcome was far from assured. Lincoln was widely seen as being out of his depth, “a person of very inferior cast of character, wholly unequal to the crisis.” Among Saunders’ most essential insights is that, in his grief over Willie, Lincoln began to develop a hard-edged empathy, out of which he decided that “the swiftest halt to the [war] (therefore the greatest mercy) might be the bloodiest.” This is a hard truth, insisting that brutality now might save lives later, and it gives this novel a bitter moral edge.

      With this book, Saunders asserts a complex and disturbing vision in which society and cosmos blur. (www.Kirkusreviews.com)

      We will be meeting on Monday, May 14 at 5:45 pm at Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 2033 N. Main Street, Suite 720, in Walnut Creek (across from the Walnut Creek BART station), for our book group discussion. Elizabeth Kohlman has graciously offered to host. I hope you can join your fellow EBALA members for this fun and enjoyable night.

      If there is a book you would like The East Bay Chapters to consider in the future, please let Tina Riehl know. Her email is: triehl@briscoelaw.net

 Our book club is open to all members. Please join us at any time.

The only cost to you is the purchase of the book.