George Saunders: “I was afraid that I will not understand.”
American writer George Saunders won the Booker prize for his debut experimental novel “Lincoln in the Bardo”. This is the second year in a row, when the prestigious British prize goes to U.S. author.
In interview Bi-bi-si George Saunders spoke about the idea of the novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” the intermediate world between life and death, and that helped him to write a novel to the end.
Bi-bi-si: what do you think, can the literature, or culture in General, to resolve any differences that exist in modern society?
D. S.: In my opinion, literature is a way of thinking, or rather complex thinking. Literature is not afraid of ambiguous situations and at the same time believes that all people are somewhat similar to each other.
Bi-bi-si: in other words, literature gives the possibility of perceiving the different points of view?
D. S.: Yes, literature allows us to soften the boundaries between people, and seemingly insurmountable problems can become manageable.
Bi-bi-si: You talk about it not only as an author but also as the man who spoke at rallies with supporters of U.S. President Donald trump.
D. S.: Yes, I was collecting material. It was a wonderful, extraordinary and sometimes resulting in confusion of the experience. There are three worlds: virtual world news and real. And the real world is much more accommodating than we can imagine.
Bi-bi-si: Let’s talk about your novel. The narrative begins in the real world and then moves into a mystical dimension. Tell us, what surprised and inspired you the history of the sufferings of Lincoln, and what is the idea of the Bardo — the intermediate world between life and death?
D. S.: the Story takes place one night in the cemetery. President Lincoln, dejected with grief for the dead son, breaks into the crypt and takes the lifeless body of his son in his arms. This event, incidentally, is confirmed by historical data.