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Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life [Paperback]

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Item description for Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life by Tony Wolk...

Imagine Abraham Lincoln walking the streets of Evanston, Illinois, on Easter weekend in 1955, just a man suddenly and magically free of the terrible burden of leading the nation through war. How will the Great Emancipator react to this new world, where he finds comfort and love in the arms of a young widow? How will learning of his own death affect his efforts to end the war when he suddenly returns to the horrors of 1865?

Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life answers these provocative questions in a singular depiction of emotional reality and temporal fantasy that brings America's most beloved president to life as never before. Tony Wolk tells this haunting tale from the perspectives of Lincoln and three women in his real and fictional life.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.52" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.67 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2004
Publisher   Ooligan Press
ISBN  1932010009  
ISBN13  9781932010008  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Alternate History

Reviews - What do customers think about Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life?

A Novel Life  Jun 27, 2008
I really enjoyed this book. This book personalized Lincoln and made the story seem very real. The plot was believable even though it was out of science fiction. Well worth my time. Doug Dilley
Thrust ninety years into the future, what would Abraham Lincoln think of the USA?  Jun 10, 2008
Thrust ninety years into the future, what would Abraham Lincoln think of the United States of America? "Abraham Lincoln: A Novel Life" asks that what if question as it follows Lincoln as he walks through 1955 America - and his experiences as a man thrust forward where he is idolized as an icon of the country he led for years prior to his sudden rush forward in time. A novel concept for a novel, and deftly written to back it up, "Abraham Lincoln: A Novel Life" is highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections as a different kind of historical fiction collection.
Quite a twist  May 5, 2008
This is a great book for people like me who love everything about the Civil War, Lincoln and historical novels. This combines the best of two worlds, as it is historical as to the Civil War as well as the mid-5o's, and provides several interesting perspectives on Lincoln. It was interesting to think about how close the two were in years, as well as how far apart in how life is lived. The very personal look at Lincoln is fascinating. It's the kind of book that could get a young person interested in this era. I can't wait to read the next installment!
Lincoln Transported  Sep 14, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Have you ever wondered what a wonderful personality of the past might think if he or she were suddenly standing in a different era? Lincoln sees cars, a "modern" 50's kitchen, and interesting clothing as he walks into 1955 for a day. It's a day that changes the entire life of Joan, who meets him there. The reader has the opportunity to get personal with these characters in this novel. And I've heard Tony Wolk is continuing this wonderful tale in his next book--I can't wait.
Unique, compassionate telling of Abraham Lincoln's Day Off  Apr 3, 2004
This is a very generous story that, by its end, is both too brief in the telling and too large to be consumed in one lifetime (unless you're a person of considerable leisure.). Wolk's Lincoln is a complex, good man: a fish out of water learning to swim in the air of his era's Washington politics and, for a little over one day, of that in 1950's Evanston Illinois. This is, in part, a time-travel story that, wisely, doesn't try to diagram the possible intricacies, collisions, paradoxes, and contradictions of such an action--Wolk does give us Professor Moebius' twisted loop as a simple metaphor, although Lincoln himself, avoids prolonged consideration of that model after his return.

By the end of the story, I felt very attached to Lincoln, to Martha, his wife, and to Joan, his friend and lover in the 20th century. While Lincoln, his wife Mary, his cabinet, the country, are mostly living through the most trying of times, undergoing personal and public tragedies, the writing stays economical and compassionate without being weak or sentimental. Lincoln looks at his trip to the future as a brief reprieve, assumes it was real (there is no, and then I woke up moment, in this story), a gift, and while it changes him, it doesn't distract him from his work, even though while in Evanston he has learned his fate. There is no flag-waving call to duty; just people who struggle with the consequences of their actions but who also have to live.

Wolk is a Shakespearean and a Lincoln scholar, and the Lincoln of this story certainly knows his Shakespeare. Quotes from Henry V in the story provide insights into Lincoln, some veiled, some that may drive you to the play to discover other Henry V passages that apply to Lincoln but do not appear in the book (especially lines where Henry is wooing Kate). There are also veiled references to some of Borge's themes.

There is what some readers may consider an odd epilogue, others perhaps a conceit, with references to science fiction author Philip K. Dick (a simulacra of Lincoln appears in Dick's novel, We Can Build You), references to time travel, the author himself perhaps as scribe or perhaps the possessor of a diary or papers (along with a generous imagination), and a character in the form of Lincoln himself or his descendant. It's a little zany at first, perhaps a little mad, but it fits.

If you read the book and enjoy it (as I did), you may be satisfied with a single reading--however, there's more story between the lines, existing in histories, other stories, plays, and references, and perhaps within yourself, that will probably drive you to other sources (as it did me). If you enjoy books that inspire you to look elsewhere (I do), then you'll probably like this one. You may enjoy this book if you like alternate history (I usually don't), or if you enjoy literary historical fiction like Patrick O'Brian's (I do). I read Lincoln, A Novel Life, while rereading O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series for the second time (and found them compatible pleasures). I wish Wolk had provided O'Brian's depth, even if he left things unexplained, but I'm happy to have been given the story I read, just the same. Wolk's Lincoln feels true. In good fiction, that counts more than anything else.

Note: This book may drive you to learn more about Lincoln and his times. Wolk generously helps with a large appendix containing non-fictional historical notes and references.


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