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Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller and 164 Other People Will Narrate George Saunders’ New Book

Jan 12, 2017
Ideas
Sarah Begley is a staff writer for TIME.

Audiobooks have been called the fastest-growing format in publishing, and George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo seems to be the largest-growing novel among audiobooks: The acclaimed short story writer's first full-length novel boasts a star-studded cast of 166 narrators.

Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally and Don Cheadle are among the celebrities who have all lent their voices to narrate the story, about Abraham Lincoln mourning his son Willie in a graveyard full of ghosts. Penguin Random House Audio is a pplying for a Guinness World Record for most individuals’ voices on a single audiobook.

" This was a really gratifying artistic venture — to have so many talented people give their time to my work like this," Saunders emailed TIME. "I had approached Kelly Gildea, the producer, with high hopes but also (I can see in retrospect) with no idea of how much I was asking—the sheer amount of work and organization. But she agreed immediately and went to work on it: 166 different voices, one for every character in the book, no doubling, and the final cast included A-list Hollywood talent, amazing audiobook professionals, and (especially meaningful to me) a bunch of family members, close friends, and volunteers from Random House and ICM. I love the way that the variety of contemporary American voices mimics and underscores the feeling I tried to evoke in the book: a sort of American chorale."

Highlights from the star-studded cast are below. The novel and audiobook will be available Feb. 14.

Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN
David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III
Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS
George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS
Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD
Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR
Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS
Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS
Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS
Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE
Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON
Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON
Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER
Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE
Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE
Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER
Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX
Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL
Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS
and
Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT
with
Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN,
Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND,
and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator


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