Bardo or Not Bardo

( French - Bardo or Not Bardo - 2004 )

novel by Antoine Volodine

translated by J.T. Mahany

Published: Open Letter - trade paperback - 2016
ISBN: 1940953332 / 9781940953335

Open Letter - e-book - 2016
eISBN: 1940953421 / 9781940953427

This universe is a place of failed revolutions, radical shamanism, and off-kilter nomenclature.
In each of the seven vignettes comprising this novel someone dies and has to make his way through the Tibetan afterlife ( also known as the Bardo ). In the Bardo, souls wander for forty-nine days before being reborn, helped along on their journey by the teachings of the Book of the Dead.
Unfortunately these characters bungle their chances at enlightenment, with the recently dead choosing to waste away their afterlife sleeping, or choosing to be reborn as an insignificant spider. The still-living aren't much better off, making a mess of things in their own ways, such as erroneously reciting a Tibetan cookbook to a lost comrade instead of the holy book.