From my list on existential and experimental historical fiction.
Who am I?
My imagination opened a portal into the past. And then I found myself spending years researching, reading, and traveling to historical sites across the western United States. Upon visiting historical places, I sometimes become overwhelmed by a visceral sense that is difficult to describe but has compelled me to write about people and places whose stories and spirits are lost and forgotten. An anecdote about a madam in a local museum stirred around in my consciousness for many years before I started writing Ophelia’s War as my MFA thesis.
Alison's book list on existential and experimental historical fiction
Why did Alison love this book?
I loved this novel because it was haunting, historical, and existential with an experimental format that blew my mind almost like an intense meditation session.
While some people may find the experimental format jarring, it transported me to a surreal disorienting dimension similar to a dream or bardo state. If you’re not familiar with the Bardo, it’s worth researching.
The word Bardo in the title is what originally attracted me to the novel because of my interest in Buddhism. Yet the bardo in this novel reminded me more of Dante’s Inferno!
The technique used at the beginning to establish the time and setting was ingenious, yet I did wonder if it was entirely fiction or pulled from the historical record. It seems people either really love this novel or have some synapses blown. In my case, it was both.