Who or what is Bardo?
Let me make this clear and explicit at the outset: this is a very good, very entertaining, provocative and clever novel. But it is, I fear, not as good as one might hope. The undefined “Bardo” of the title is a kind of Limbo, where souls transition from reality to eternity, and where some of them linger, afraid or unwilling to leave behind the past. It is where young Willie Lincoln, son of honest Abe, finds himself, having succumbed to illness at the age of 11. The night after the funeral, his father, President of the United States comes secretly to visit the grave.