CHICAGO (CBS) — As we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, a new novel about the 16th President, and Illinois’ favorite son, is being released this week and is already getting a lot of praise.

George Saunders, a well-known short stories writer, published his first novel, which is about a fictionalized account of a terrible time in Lincoln’s life.

Lincoln in the Bardo is the dramatized tale of Lincoln’s reaction to the real-life 1862 death of his 11-year-old son, Willie.

“Lincoln was apparently so grief stricken that he actually went into the crypt and held the body a couple of times. So this book just starts with that,” Saunders explains in a media release from the book’s publisher.

The word “bardo” means a state of existence between death and rebirth.

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