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The Lincoln Highway
by Amor Towles
What a wonderful way to end the year! Amor Towles’s The Lincoln Highway is an absolute gift of a book, in fact, it’s perfect for Christmas and it’s unquestionably my Book of the Year! His previous novels Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow (one of my all time favourites) have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages. Towles is an absolute master of character and this new book will have you enthralled once again!
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile detention centre where he has just served fifteen months for getting into a fight with the local bully which ended very, very badly. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and drive to California in the only thing he owns – a powder blue 1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser – to start a new life.
But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the detention centre—the wily, charismatic Duchess and earnest, offbeat Woolly—have stowed away in the boot of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction towards New York City.
Taking place over just ten days and told from the points of view of all the key personalities, Towles’s third novel is a glorious, adventurous romp across ‘50s America. The three 18-year olds and an 8 year old meet up with a cast of eclectic characters, from salt of the earth farmers to a philosophical nun to drifters who make their home riding the rails to vaudeville villains to the aristocrats of the Upper East Side and often the small characters steal the show!
It’s absorbing, exhilarating, amusing, exasperating, sweeping and moving… It’s a complete delight! The Lincoln Highway will keep you totally entertained this Christmas!
Please watch this 10 minute video of Amor Towles explaining the carefully considered setting, the glorious characters and the specific timing of his new book.
A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.” – Kirkus Reviews
[A] playfully thought-provoking novel… Towles, paying more than a passing nod to Huckleberry Finn, juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion. – Booklist
Adventures and memorable characters abound. Using multiple points-of-view and shifting from comedy to tragedy and back again, Towles enthralls. – O Quarterly
A rollicking cross-country adventure, rife with unforgettable characters, vivid scenery and suspense that will keep readers flying through the pages. – TIME
“[The] notion of American openness, of ever-fractalizing free will, coming up against the fickle realities of fate is the tension that powers Towles’ exciting, entertaining picaresque – Los Angeles Times