The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles


While this novel is over 500 pages long, it covers only ten days in the lives of three barely adult young men, Emmett, Duchess, and Wooly and Emmett’s younger brother Billy, as they travel east along the Lincoln Highway. When Emmett is dropped off at the defunct family farm in Nebraska by the juvenile detention center’s warden (Emmett has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter), his plan is to use money left to him by his deceased father to bankroll a new start in California with his little brother. He is surprised to find out that Duchess and Wooly, fellow inmates at the detention center, have escaped by hiding in the trunk of the warden’s car. Duchess and Wooly have very different travel plans. The book is a wild trip to NYC populated by an eclectic cast of characters who keep the story moving at a breakneck speed. The eight-year-old Billy is my favorite character. He won my heart immediately. The story is full of adventure with lots of twists and turns along the way. Towles brings NYC in the 1950’s to life. I lived in the city in the 90’s when I attended grad school. In so many ways, New York is timeless. I loved returning there through this great summer read.

3 comments on “The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles”

  1. Barbara, after I finished reading Rules of Civility by Towles, which was recommended by a friend (and which I very much enjoyed reading), I borrowed this author’s book, A Gentleman in Moscow in the audiobook on CDs format. It’s a bunch of CDs, so it must be very long, as well. I’m about 3 CDs in. I can see why my friend gave up on it because Towles does go on…and on. It’s well-written, so I think I’ll hang in there. We shall see. How different the subject matter of Towles’s books is, though two have that NYC connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read A Gentleman in Moscow quite awhile ago, and I know I enjoyed it. Prompted by your comment, I wanted to remember the story more clearly; so, I read a NYT review which summarized the tale. Then I noticed, for the first time, that Bill Gates reviews books. It was interesting to see a billionaire’s take on a book I have read. I’ll be interested to find out your final evaluation of A Gentleman in Moscow. Keep us posted. It is very different from The Lincoln Highway. I have not read Rules of Civility.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’d like Rules of Civility. Much of the action is in Brooklyn, which my neighbor told me was her initial attraction to it. When I asked her why, she told me the most amazing story of her late husband’s life, before and after he met her. I’m grateful for this book for revealing this wonderful information about my lovely neighbor.

        Liked by 1 person

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