Not bad for his first novel!
Not bad for his first novel! CHLOE AFTEL

The winner of the United Kingdom's highest most prestigious literary prize goes to George Saunders for his very first novel, Lincoln In the Bardo. Saunders is mostly known for his short story collections and his folksy essays. Of the essays I highly recommend the timely Braindead Megaphone, and of the stories I like CivilWarLand In Bad Decline, Pastoralia, and a solo short story called "Fox 8".

In his review for the Stranger, Willie Fitzgerald called Lincoln "the first essential novel of the Donald Trump era," describing the book's world as "a regressive, hyper-capitalist fever dream in which language is hilariously corrupted, fairness is thrown out the window, and the foundational tenets of civil society start to give way."

This is the second time an American has won the Man Booker Prize since it loosened its restrictions to allow for all books written in English instead of just books written by UK authors. Many in the book world saw that decision as a huge bummer because it reduced the size of the book world. Just four years ago, the announcement of the Man Booker award was the day that American readers realized that people in other countries read books and had opinions about the value of their contribution to literature, too! However, it's not all the Booker's fault. As Alex Shephard notes in a fine essay for the New Republic, the prize's expansion merely reflects the reality of a globalized publishing industry controlled by only a few huge publishing houses.

But that's only kind of interesting! Much more interesting is Fitzgerald's review of Lincoln in the Bardo. Read it now. Then buy the book!