Cover Image: The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I loved A Gentleman in Moscow, and I was similarly disappointed when The Lincoln Highway ended. Towles manages to infuse every one of his characters with such personality and verve that I feel as if I know them personally. Even if the circumstances struck me as incredibly improbable, it was a delight to read of the exploits of both major and minor characters and to root for their success—whatever that might look like.
Was this review helpful?
WOW, I started this book excited to read, then I could not stop, reading every minute I could.  
This is an amazing ride of a book!

The descriptive writing was impeccable!!

As a librarian, 
I will recommend to patrons.  I hope to order to have in our library.
It will be on our top shelf to showcase it as it is one of the best books I have read!
Was this review helpful?
Having adored A Gentleman in Moscow, I was eager to read Amor Towles’ new release.  Set in America in 1954, this absorbing story chronicles an odyssey of four young men who attempt a road trip on the Lincoln Highway that is frequently derailed. Towels is a master storyteller and though the novel spans just 10 days it is full of adventure and insights into human behavior told from multiple points of view.  The characters are interesting, complex, and well drawn, an unforgettable cast. The four main characters are distinct individuals with very different backgrounds, ambitions and motivation. This multi-layered beautifully written vivid  novel invites the reader to join the characters on their journey individually and collectively as their trials and tribulations are brought to life on the page.  An unforgettable journey with a lot to reflect upon.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Best book I've read lately!  I loved all of the characters but especially Billy. The book is full of adventure and a real page turner. My first book by this author.   I can’t wait to check out the rest of his books. 

Seriously, if you want to read any book this fall, read The Lincoln Highway!
Was this review helpful?
I didn’t think I could like any book more than Amor Towles A Gentleman in Moscow, but I like this book a tad bit more. In 1954, three 18-year-olds who met in a Kansas reformatory plan a trip from Nebraska to California, with a joy ride to New York on the way. Emmett Watson, who accidently killed a boy who was harassing him. Leaving behind his brother and father, he serves his time. His father has died, and his brother Billy is being raised by a neighbor. The farm is being foreclosed so Emmett and Billy plan to take Emmett’s Studebaker to California and find their mother. Two of his friends from the reformatory have hidden in the trunk of the Warden’s car when he brought Emmett home. These two, Duchess and Woolly, are quite the pair and insist they go with Emmett and Billy. 8-year-old Billy is bright. He loves the idea of following the Lincoln Highway. In fact, at times he’s the most intelligent person on this road trip, which involves the theft of the Studebaker, learning the ways of being a hobo. Storytelling at it best is in this book, but its more than a story it’s also a lesson about life, and librarian that I am, I also see it as telling the importance of listening and books. At first, disappointed in how the book was ending, by the time I reached the last sentence, I knew the ending was the perfect finale for one of my favorite books of the year.
Was this review helpful?
There is no one out there who tells a story quite like Amor Towles. Reading his previous book, A Gentleman in Moscow, I found it to be slow to start, and wondered what I was missing that had made others rave. Fortunately, I pressed on with A Gentleman in Moscow and oh, how it paid off. I laughed; I cried; I longed for the characters to resolve their storylines in a way that made me happy and hopeful and not even one bit wistful or sad. 

The Lincoln Highway is a very different story than A Gentleman in Moscow, but it carries over much of the magic from it's predecessor. The characters in The Lincoln Highway, Emmett, his kid brother Billy, his juvenile detention compatriots, Woolly and Duchess, even minor characters of Sally, Ulysses, and the professor, all pull you into their thrall. None of them are entirely believable, but they are complex and fully fleshed out. The villains often find themselves on the end of a run of bad luck and the most righteous in the novel struggle with keeping themselves on the correct path. 

I think the book shines best from Billy and Woolly's perspectives. These two--undoubtedly the purest of the narrators that take us along the journey--are both the hope and the despair of the story. There is so much to grieve in this book. Some storylines are sealed up quite firmly, with the only natural resolution played out, and others are very much open and let the reader imagine the best outcome for their respective characters. There were Hollywood endings in this, but also a little heartbreak, bittersweet and evocative in the way that all great writing is. 

Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first time reading this author so I was not sure what to expect. The author paints a vivid picture of 1950’s America with interesting characters. He introduces them and relays many stories about their background so we can a true sense of who they are. The book was a bit too long for my taste but wonderful storytelling.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4. #TheLincolnHighway #AmorTowles NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Emmett Watson was honest and straight-forward, but he did a bit of a temper. His younger brother, Billy had convinced him to count to ten before he let his anger get the better of him. Emmett wished he knew about this before he let Jimmy Synder goad him into getting so mad that swung without thinking and hit him so hard he fell back and hit his head on a cinderblock holding down a tentpole. Jack laid in the hospital a whole week before he died, and Emmett knew he’d have to pay the consequences. They called it involuntary manslaughter and since he was under eighteen, they sent him to the juvenile work farm in Salina, Kansas for eighteen months. 

Now the warden was driving him back to the family farm in Nebraska, to close out the foreclosure papers on his father’s farm and take care of young Billy. Mr. Ransom from the next farm over suggested it might be best for Emmett and Billy to move on and start over somewhere new. Emmett already thought that over and was keen to set out the next day and head for Texas where he could put the carpentry skills he learned on the job since he was sixteen. Billy had his heart set on heading to California since he found nine old postcards their mother had sent years ago when she left the farm saying that’s where she ended up. 

Emmett figured either way they were leaving in the morning until he saw two figures in the old barn. Duchess Hewitt and Woolly Martin were standing next to his car but were supposed to be back at the work farm. Emmett was not happy to see them here in Nebraska. They had hid in the warden’s car trunk for the three-hour drive to the Watson farm for their escape and wanted Emmett to join them on a trip to Woolly’s grandfather’s house in upstate, New York. Woolly told Duchess that his Grandfather had put his inheritance, in cash in the total of one hundred fifty thousand dollars in his safe, in that house. Woolly said they can get it and split it three ways. 

Emmett had a car, but he also had his younger brother Billy, so he said he’d take them to a bus or train station, but he wasn’t going. Well, Duchess, having grown up with a thieving alcoholic dad who dropped him off at an orphanage when he was 8 years old, and was used to getting by and spinning slick tales with his sly tongue. Woolly, raised in wealth and privilege, was a simple, kind-hearted soul who wanted to please everyone, would go along with whatever was decided. 

The group did set out with the plans mentioned just above, but of course that’s not what happened at all. Let’s say they had a few detours on the way, some with Duchess ‘borrowing’ Emmett’s car, and some with hopping trains. You see, it was Billy’s idea to follow the Lincoln Highway all the way out to California to find their mother, convinced they’d find her still in San Francisco nine years later. Billy even had maps where he plotted all the stops their mom had made shown in her postcards. Emmett figured he could work in California just as well as Texas, but finding their mother, well he’d cross that bridge when they got there.

The adventure that you’re about to take is well worth your time, plus you’ll meet some interesting characters along the way. And trust me, none of it is predictable, but all it is eye-opening. Remember, the time period is June 1954, Emmett and Billy want to get to California by July fourth because their mother loved fireworks. (And I left out Billy’s bid red book with tales of heroes; oh, you’ll see.)

Thank you Netgalley and Edelweiss, Penguin Random House - Viking,  and Amor Towles
Was this review helpful?
Emmett and his brother Billy are ready to set off for California to start a new life, when Emmett's two friends interfere and lead them on an adventure to New York.  The beginning of this book totally caught my attention.  I liked the character of Emmett and thought his backstory was very interesting.  Towards the middle of the book I started to get a bit bored as things weren't really moving along and I couldn't see where it was all headed.  But the last few chapters really made up for that slow part and I'm glad I stuck with it.  I enjoyed all the descriptions of New York and the characters were well-drawn and interesting.  I didn't like all the religious aspects, but that's a personal preference.  I would definitely recommend this book and think it will be a big hit.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Viking Books and NetGalley for providing me with both an ARC and a DRC of one of my most-anticipated reads of 2021. 

After fulfilling his sentence at a prison work farm, Emmett is driven back to the family farm by the warden. Unbeknownst to them both, they are also transporting two escapees, Duchess and Woolly, by way of the trunk of the warden’s car. Emmett plans to collect his nine-year-old brother, Billy, and set off for the West Coast in pursuit of a fresh start. Duchess and Woolly have other plans, however, and the foursome find themselves on their way to the East Coast instead. 

CAN I GIVE THIS BOOK MORE THAN FIVE STARS!!?? I’ll start out by saying that I absolutely loved A Gentleman in Moscow. As often happens with me, I got nervous to start this one in case it didn’t live up to my expectations or the high bar set by AGIM. I can safely say that my worries were unfounded because TLH was amazing from the plot to the characters to the numerous literary references sprinkled throughout its pages. 

I fell in love with each and every character. Towles is a master at crafting dimensional and realistic characters. Woolly was especially a favorite of mine, along with Ulysses. 

I am so happy I have both a physical and digital copy of this one, as I can already anticipate that I will return to this one again and again. Thank you, Amor Towles for sharing another truly epic story with us!
Was this review helpful?
I loved everything about this story, from Emmett returning home to Duchess in the boat. Towles makes beautiful observations about humankind and creates detailed pictures in the reader’s mind. 5-star
Was this review helpful?
Perhaps I was preoccupied or distracted while trying to read this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I was engaged for the first 150 pages or so but then it seemed to drag on forever all while introducing more and more characters and spinning off in new directions. I couldn't keep up but those who do seem to enjoy it.
Was this review helpful?
Author Amor Towles offers readers a new book, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, a quest tale in search of multiple outcomes. The writing is somewhat reminiscent of Kent Haruf, one of my favorite authors, in style, with the absence of punctuation around dialog, and the wonderful description of the farmland and community where the book begins.  The characters range from the believable to the absurd and that’s where the writing separates from Haruf.  The Quest becomes convoluted and almost comical, and the book loses some of its power midway.  The ending is excellent and well worth the reading.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
“The Lincoln Highway,” by Amor Towles, Viking, 592 pages, Oct. 5, 2021.

In June of 1954, Emmett Watson,18, is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm in Salina, Kansas, where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. Emmett killed Jimmy Snyder, 17, in a fight that Jimmy started.

Emmett’s mother left them years ago and his father died recently. The bank foreclosed on their farm. Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to Texas. Billy wants to go to San Francisco because he found postcards that their mother mailed them.

But two men from the work farm, Duchess Hewett and Woolly Martin, hid in the trunk of the warden’s car. They want Emmett to take them to upstate New York, where Woolly’s great-grandfather is believed to have stashed $150,000.

The novel is told from several points of view. Emmett is just trying to do right by his brother. Billy doesn’t go anywhere without his large red book: “Professor Abacus Abernathe’s Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers and Other Intrepid Travelers.” Duchess causes trouble for everyone around him. Woolly likes to pay his respects to statues of Abraham Lincoln. Sally lives on a farm near Emmett and Billy and she is tired of cooking and cleaning for her father.

The writing is excellent. While elements of the plot are not entirely believable, you get so wrapped up in the story that it doesn’t matter. The characters are marvelous. This is highly enjoyable.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?
An engaging amble. Although the page length is initially daunting, I was never bored while reading; the swift pacing moves the story along well, the interestingly complex characters are well-drawn, the book is niftily divided into the ten days that the primary tale spans, and the setting of a road trip on a classic highway is a fun way to explore multiple locations. Although not all of the perspectives are vital, it was enjoyable to get a glimpse into the heads of multiple characters, especially to better understand each of their motivations. While I've liked both of Towles' previous works, for some reason this one clicked a little more for me and I grew attached to several of the characters, rooting for them to somehow find a happy ending. I really appreciated how a particularly annoying, troublesome character gets a fitting ending in the final few pages.
Was this review helpful?
From the author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility comes Amor Towles latest novel, a story of brotherhood and finding your place in life. Ten years before the creation of Route 66, the Lincoln highway was built to allow cars to drive across the country from New York City to San Francisco. Towles latest novel takes us on a ten-day ride on the Lincoln Highway through 1954’s America.

Emmett Watson has just been released from his sentence at a juvenile work camp after being convicted of accidently killing a classmate during a fight. With their father just passed away and the farm foreclosed on, Emmett and his 8-year old brother Billy plan on starting over in California and searching for their mother who left them eight years ago. The only clue to her location is postcards she sent them from along the Lincoln highway. Their trip doesn’t go as planned when two escaped stowaways from his work camp, Wooley and Duchess, steal Emmett’s car and drive to New York City. What follows is a race across railroads and highways while meeting new characters, Ulysses, a freight car riding wanderer and Abacus Abarnathe, the author of Billy’s favorite book.

Towles uses varying perspectives, history, a variety of characters and teasers in each chapter to create a rich coming of age novel, very different, but equally as good as his previous bestsellers. A storytelling of a ride through America. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to review this book before its release.
Was this review helpful?
Amor Towles once again delivers a rich, luscious read--this time in the form of an unforgettable road trip spawned by nine postcards. Immersive, emotionally resonant, and peopled by brilliantly drawn characters, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY is another tour de force read from one of our most talented novelists.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an early read of The Lincoln Highway is the new book by Amor, Towles, the author of A Gentleman In Moscow.  Set in 1954, it is the story of Emmett and Billy Watson.  Emmett has just returned home from Salina, a detention house for boys.  His time for an accidental death has been served, but while he was there, his father passed away and the family farm is being repossessed by the bank.  He and his young brother are setting out to California to start a new life and possibly find their mother, who left them eight years earlier.  The only clue to her whereabouts are nine postcards that she sent them from along the Lincoln Highway.  The Lincoln Highway was the first highway to cross the country, from New York City to San Francisco.  But friends from his time in Salina - Duchess and Wooly – show up and things don’t go as Emmett has planned.  Duchess is a fast-talking con artist and Wooly is the wayward heir to a wealthy family in New York.  Duchess wants Emmett to take them to New York to claim Wooly’s inheritance. When Emmett says no, Duchess makes it happen anyway.  This starts a road trip – to New York City, the exact opposite direction that Emmett and Billy wanted to go.  Along the way, they will meet a cast of interesting characters, from a noble freight car riding wanderer to the author of Billy’s favorite book. The action takes place over just ten days, but still seems like a rich leisurely read.  The author has created great characters in Emmett, Billy, Duchess and Wooly, each of them hoping that a cross-country trip will help ease something inside them – a betrayal, a loss, a fear of never fitting in.  It’s a story about brotherhood and about finding your place in the world.  Although it is very different from A Gentleman In Moscow, if you read that and liked it, you will like his new one too.
Was this review helpful?
“Because to aspire, to fall in love, to stumble as we do and yet soldier on, at some level we must believe that what we are going through has never been experienced quite as we have experienced it.”

Amor Towles takes on his version of the Great American Novel with attentiveness and earnestness and I loved every word.  Set in the 1950’s, The Lincoln Highway chronicles a group of teens who are thrust together and embark on a cross country adventure. I felt a roller coaster of emotions as each character has highs and lows in their respective quests and predict the characters will become well-loved in literary circles. The time period is a perfect backdrop, setting up the juxtaposition of a simpler time and incredibly complicated choices. The articulate and often heartbreaking storytelling will surely be admired by fans of Mr. Towles’ previous novels. Especially for readers who enjoyed William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land. 

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin/Viking for the opportunity to read a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?