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FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MULTI-MILLION COPY BESTSELLER A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW
'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
'The best novel I've read in years. Epic and original, mesmeric and life-affirming, in THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY Amor Towles takes his unmatched gift for storytelling and puts it on the road. Every beautiful paragraph takes the reader a mile further into a world where our choices matter, where life surprises us, and where people are worth the trouble. This is one of those rare and special books that drive us home to ourselves' CHRIS CLEAVE
'With exquisitely drawn characters, beautiful writing and a real sense of moral integrity, The Lincoln Highway already feels like an American coming of age classic to sit alongside The Catcher In The Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird' Red
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.
With his mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and head to California to start a new life.
But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have stowed away in the trunk of the warden's car. They have a very different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction - to New York City.
Bursting with life, charm, richly imagined settings and unforgettable characters, The Lincoln Highway is an extraordinary journey through 1950s America from the pen of a master storyteller.
'[A] wise and wildly entertaining novel . . . Towles has snipped off a minuscule strand of existence - 10 wayward days - and when we look through his lens we see that this brief interstice teems with stories, grand as legends' New York Times
'Finely observed and beautifully written. Amor Towles is that rare combination of writer and storyteller' JEFFREY ARCHER
Towles's magnificent comic road novel (after A Gentleman in Moscow) follows the rowdy escapades of four boys in the 1950s and doubles as an old-fashioned narrative about farms, families, and accidental friendships. In June 1954, 18-year-old Emmett Watson returns to his childhood farm in Morgen, Neb., from a juvenile detention camp. Emmett has been released early from his sentencing for fighting because his father has died and his homestead has been foreclosed. His precocious eight-year-old brother, Billy, greets him, anxious to light out for San Francisco in hopes of finding their mother, who abandoned them. Plans immediately go awry when two escaped inmates from Emmett's camp, Duchess and Woolly, appear in the Watsons' barn. Woolly says his grandfather has stashed $150,000 in the family's Adirondack Mountains cabin, which he offers to split evenly between the three older boys. But Duchess and Woolly take off with Emmett's Studebaker, leaving the brothers in pursuit as boxcar boys. On the long and winding railway journey, the brothers encounter characters like the scabrous Pastor John and an endearing WWII vet named Ulysses, and Billy's constant companion, a book titled Professor Abacus Abernathe's Compendium of Heroes, Adventures, and Other Intrepid Travelers, provides parallel story lines of epic events and heroic adventures. Woolly has a mind for stories, too, comparing his monotonous time in detention to that of Edmond Dant s in The Count of Monte Cristo and hoping eventually to experience a "one-of-a-kind kind of day." Towles is a supreme storyteller, and this one-of-a-kind kind of novel isn't to be missed. Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the name of the Ulysses character.