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February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. From that seed of ...

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Nicolette B

Jan 31, 2019

blew my mind.

I imagine that this novel isn't for everyone, as the format and storytelling style is very unusual. In fact, everything about it is unusual. It's written as a series of quotes or speeches from people, and many of them seem to be authentic historical quotes from hundreds of years ago. It took me a little while to adjust to the very strange format, but soon I was letting each character have their moment without much concern for knowing who they are and what's going on. I was imagining a Greek chorus, with individual characters stepping forward to speak their minds one at a time. I stuck with it, and WOW. A story unfolded, with twists and turns and mythology. This novel is brilliant. It breaks all the rules of fiction. It contains multitudes. It's tragic and poignant and profound. It's incredibly creative. There is nothing like it at all. I recommend reading it with no knowledge of what it is about and letting it unfold. Incredible.

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