THE INSTANT NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
FROM THE AUTHOR OF RULES OF CIVILITY AND A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW
'Deserves a place alongside Kerouac, Steinbeck and Wolfe as the very best of the genre' OBSERVER
'An absolute beauty of a book. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again' TANA FRENCH
'Welcome to the enormous pleasure that is The Lincoln Highway . . . in which the miles fly by and the pages turn fast' ANN PATCHETT
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett returns home to his younger brother Billy after serving fifteen months in a juvenile facility for involuntary manslaughter. They are getting ready to leave their old life behind and head out to sunny California.
But they're not alone. Two runaways from the youth work farm, Duchess and Wolly, have followed Emmett all the way to Nebraska with a plan of their own, one that will take the four of them on an unexpected and fateful journey in the opposite direction - to New York City.
'Already feels like an American coming of age classic' RED
'The best novel I've read in years' CHRIS CLEAVE
'Wise and wildly entertaining . . . permeated with light, wit, youth' THE NEW YORK TIMES
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.