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Jon Bartlett

Antoine Volodine's <br><i>Bardo or Not Bardo</i>

Antoine Volodine's
Bardo or Not Bardo

Review by Jon Bartlett

For the reader willing to take Antoine Volodine on his own terms, to follow the desires of his characters, whether real or dreamt, whether in life or in death, to their fatalistic ends, the pleasures are great and the humor is plenty. The sense of crossed wires, of failures to communicate, permeate Bardo or Not Bardo. The majority of its stories describe farcical situations where those in the Bardo, in this spiritual state between death and rebirth, either misunderstand their condition, strive to subvert its laws, or are misguided by the inept or malicious officiants charged with reading to them passages from the Bardo Thödol in order to guide the deceased away from the cycle of rebirth and toward enlightenment, or the Clear Light . . .