The Lincoln Highway
By: Amor Towles
Publication Date: 10/05/2021
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland , Dion Graham
My Rating: 5 Stars ++
“[T]ransporting . . . a rollicking cross-country adventure, rife with unforgettable characters, vivid scenery and suspense that will keep readers flying through the pages.” —TIME
“An absolute beauty of a book. Every character is a gem, the many locations spring to vivid life, the book is an intricate and moving exploration of journeys and the infinite unexpected turns they can take—and somehow Towles makes it all seem effortless. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again.” —Tana French, bestselling author of The Searcher
The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. 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 head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden's car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction—to the City of New York.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles's third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.
An Amazon Best Book of October 2021: The Lincoln Highway might just be one of the best novels of this decade, which is a feat considering A Gentleman in Moscow, also holds that distinction (in this reviewer’s mind, anyway). Set in the 1950s, The Lincoln Highway is filled with nostalgia as well as the gentle naïveté and hijinks of those who are young, optimistic, and on a mission. The story follows four boys who set out to travel the country in search of a fresh start: Emmett and Billy want to find their mother who left them when they were young, and Duchess and Woolly are on the hunt for a stashed wad of cash. Sometimes their dreams are aligned but often they are not. In other words, adventure ensues: There’s train hopping and car stealing, and with that comes the inevitability of trouble sparked from both good and bad intentions. Each of these young men is chasing his dreams, but their pasts—whether violent or sad—are never far behind. A remarkable work of storytelling that is a 2021 favorite. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
“The master storyteller returns…”
—Los Angeles Times
“[A] captivating piece of historical fiction . . . transporting . . . a rollicking cross-country adventure, rife with unforgettable characters, vivid scenery and suspense that will keep readers flying through the pages.”
“An enthralling odyssey.”
“[A] bracing, heroic adventure . . . Towles plays stylishly with elements of the picaresque, the coming-of-age novel and the epic quest . . . The indelible final scene, which I did not see coming, perfectly encapsulates the theme of inheritance, and what choices the characters make about what they are given, to determine their own fates.”
“[The Lincoln Highway] loses none of the author’s trademark wit or style . . . a cross-country adventure packed with unexpected twists and unforgettable action.”
—Town & Country
“Magnificent . . . Towles is a supreme storyteller, and this one-of-a-kind kind of novel isn’t to be missed.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow . . . 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 (starred)
“Packed with drama, The Lincoln Highway takes place in just 10 days, with chapters narrated by a variety of characters. Towles’ fans will be rewarded with many of the same pleasures they’ve come to expect from him: a multitude of stories told at a leisurely pace (the novel clocks in at 592 pages); numerous endearing and sometimes maddening characters; and pitch-perfect plotting with surprises at every turn…Towles has created another winning novel whose pages are destined to be turned—and occasionally tattered—by gratified readers.”
“[A] playfully thought-provoking novel . . . [Towles] 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.”
“[The Lincoln Highway] is reason to rejoice for Towles’s millions of fans, who made his first two novels, Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow, runaway international bestsellers.”
“An absolute beauty of a book. Every character is a gem, the many locations spring to vivid life, the book is an intricate and moving exploration of journeys and the infinite unexpected turns they can take—and somehow Towles makes it all seem effortless. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again.”
—Tana French, bestselling author of The Searcher
What a fantastic book! Absorbing and thought-provoking, the wildest and highly entertaining American road trip joyride that changes lives. Full of wisdom, life, and humor, at close to 600 pages, it is a long one, but well worth the time.
THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY by acclaimed author, Amor Towles is a classic must-read. Highly recommend the audiobook narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland, and Dion Graham (Narrator).
Set in 1954, the book begins with 18-year-old Emmett Watson. He is released from a juvenile work farm in Kansas and driven home by a warden to the town in Nebraska, after his father's death. Emmett is a hard worker and knows carpentry and wants nothing more than to head to Texas so he can get back into real estate and flip houses.
Their family farm is now under foreclosure due to their dad's issues with money. So this is time to start over. They have nothing but his vintage Studebaker. After going to the library and checking the Encyclopaedia Britannica he thinks Texas would be a good place to start over with his younger brother.
He has a younger eight-year-old little brother, Billy. Readers will fall in love with him. Very smart. Billy wants them to make a road trip and move to California. Their mother left them years ago and for a time she sent postcards along the Lincoln Highway.
Billy thinks she will be waiting for them. That was eight years ago. Also, Billy has it in his mind they need to reach California by July 4th since that was a favorite holiday of his mom's.
However, they are about to leave on their road trip, there are many challenges. and derailed when two guys show up at the farm. The two (Wooly and Duchess were hiding in the trunk of the car). They have a different plan.
So now they have two extra guys on their road trip. Emmett's plan is to drop them at the bus station and then he and his brother will continue their trip, but fate has something different in mind.
Along the way, there is a complex game of cat and mouse. Duchess is an interesting character that Billy likes. However, they must watch for him. He also believes in life there are checks and balances.
Duchess has a plan to go to NY and grab the $150k from the safe in Wooly's family home (family trust). However, that will involve stealing Emmett's car, leaving Billy and Emmett on their own to catch a ride on a freight train, since they have no money.
There they run into more problems with a pastor trying to steal Billy's coin collection, and then on the train, they meet Ulysses, a Black veteran who comes to their rescue, who has been riding the rails since his own family disappeared during WWII.
The author keeps readers hanging on every word. Set over a ten-day period of time we hear from each character. Each character is chasing their own dreams and their past and present connect sons, fathers, brothers, and strangers. We see evil as well as kindness. Hope and failure. Often the sidekicks can be as important as family.
It is all about the journey. Themes: race, class, and gender throughout generations. A tour de force, well constructed, and beautifully written soulful story. Anyone who loves reflection, nostalgia, excellent storytelling, and literary fiction, will enjoy this compulsively readable novel.
Pub Date: Oct 5, 2021
About the Author
Amor Towles is the author of New York Times bestsellers RULES OF CIVILITY and A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. His new novel, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, will be released on October 5, 2021. His short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, and Vogue. Having worked as an investment professional for more than twenty years, Towles now devotes himself fulltime to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children. Website