Tracing the historic arc of Abraham Lincoln's life from his picaresque days as a gangly young man in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews to the familiar Lincoln saga, seamlessly braiding Lincoln family members and military figures with a parade of fictional extras - wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, patriotic whores, and dying soldiers.
Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone 19th-century humor, and Lincoln's own letters and speeches, Jerome Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons - Robert, Willie, and Tad - is explored with penetrating psychological insight, utmost compassion, and the most ingenious novelistic license.
©2014 Jerome Charyn (P)2014 Dreamscape Media, LLC
"The novel...succeeds in making the legendary figure more accessible, using Lincoln's lifelong battle with depression as an avenue through which to explore his life and perspective... A warts-and-all portrayal, not only of the lead, but of central supporting figures, most especially his tempestuous and difficult wife, Mary. Charyn has managed to craft a fictional autobiography that rings emotionally true." - Publishers Weekly
"I Am Abraham is not only the best novel about President Lincoln since Gore Vidal's Lincoln in 1984, but it is also twice as good to read." - Gabor Boritt, author of The Lincoln Enigma and recipient of the National Humanities Medal
"Audacious as ever, Jerome Charyn now casts his novelist's gimlet eye on sad-souled Abraham Lincoln, a man of many parts, who controls events and people - wife, sons, a splintering nation - even though they often are, as they must be, beyond his compassion or power. Brooding, dreamlike, resonant, and studded with strutting characters, I Am Abraham is as wide and deep and morally sure as its wonderful subjects." - Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compassion: 1848-1877
"If all historians - or any historian - could write with the magnetic charm and authoritative verve of Jerome Charyn, American readers would be fighting over the privilege of learning about their past. They can learn much from this book - an audacious, first-person novel that makes Lincoln the most irresistible figure of a compelling story singed with equal doses of comedy, tragedy, and moral grandeur. Here is something beyond history and approaching art." - Harold Holzer, chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
"Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature." - Michael Chabon
"Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life, and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable." - Jonathan Lethem
"Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer - so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible." - Tom Bissell
The narrator was a bit dry at first, but I got used to him and his characterizations. Hard to follow the early years of the story, but if got more interesting as the story developed into more mainstream historical knowledge.
The narrator does a pretty good job but the story line makes Lincoln out to be a filthy minded tramp.
I am afraid so, too hard to guess what could have been real and what has just been invented by the author.
The narrator did pretty good differentiating between characters through voice intonation.
There are too many scenes where sex is portrayed in a vulgar and coarse manner. The author seems to be obsessed with sex and farting.
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