Cover Image: The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway

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Member Reviews

Amor Towles does it again! Another spectacular and engrossing story that captures your heart and imagination from the get go! Another one of those books where I didn't want it to end and feel bereft without these characters in my imagination anymore!!

The story picks up with Emmett being driven home by the warden, back to his younger brother who has been with neighbours since Emmett was taken away a year ago. He is regretful over his choice of action in the past and vows to make up for it, especially where his family is concerned. With his house being foreclosed on, it's time for he and Billy (his wonderful brother!) to make a new life elsewhere and that was their plan - until Duchess and Wooly show up! They've hitched a ride with the warden too, albeit without his knowledge, and now they have scores of their own to settle.

What follows is a road trip with a difference! They all set out together , get parted, reunited, and you're constantly on edge as you watch their new paths unfold. The detail in the characters and their personalities are beautifully written, especially the brothers, and it's just a masterclass of the connection between humans. The disappointments, regrets, hopes and fears and I just totally lost myself in their world.

Their paths collide again in New York as Emmett tries to get his plans back on track but things don't always work out as he envisaged. Billy is just a wonder of a character - a wise old soul in a very young body, and I just found his outlook on life so amazing and innocent. I was smitten!! It's emotional and captivating in equal measures. Told from various viewpoints, it's seamless in flow and never dips in pace or drama!

This has been one of my favourite reads of 2021 and I'm already itching to pick it up again and start the journey with them all over again! Brilliant!!
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A modern day odyssey with villains and heroes, trials and tribulations, friendship and hope. The eponymous Lincoln Highway is referred to frequently but is seldom travelled. Instead we have our protagonists and ‘heroes’ journeying east rather than west, seeking out old acquaintances, settling accounts and  searching for their ‘gold at the end of the rainbow.’ With a multiplicity of characters and several points of view, the story has lots of sideways meanderings. The prose is entertaining and the dialogue authentic. At times whimsical, at times matter-of-fact even when dealing with retribution, the story reaches an unhappy conclusion for some of the characters and an undocumented future for the others. 

I am struggling to work out what to take away from this story. It was enjoyable enough to read but then what? I’m left with a feeling of being unsatisfied.
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Five-star read! Huge book but so well-written and so interesting. I didn't want to put it down. I fell in love with the characters and didn't want the story to end.
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The Lincoln Highway is an adventure-filled historical fiction focusing on a fresh start, and the many ways it can be derailed. The journey spans half a continent but takes place over 10 days, following 18-year old Emmet Watson after his release from juvenile prison. His plan is to travel on the Lincoln Highway from Nebraska to California with his little brother Billy. But two stowaways, Duchess and Woolly, have a different idea and pull the Watson brothers in a whole new direction.

Amor Towles’ writing is full of wisdom, but laced with humour and levity. It feels very heartfelt, thanks to the philosophical musings balance with connections between characters. Although this book is the tale of an adventure, it’s not overly fast-paced or thrilling. Towles takes his time in setting the scene and mindset of his characters. His literary fluency is stirring, make it easy for the reader to invest in this road trip of a lifetime.

The book has multiple POVs, which gives you a well-rounded view of each personality. I love the way Towles introduces his characters, using their backstories to create distinctive plot points to then satisfy events as they develop. They’re well-crafted young characters, with flaws and misguided expectations but oddities that make them loveable.

This is a book with a lot of heart. At the centre is brotherhood, hope, and redemption, as well as themes of race, class, and mental illness. The journey along the Lincoln Highway is one worth following, just to experience Towles’ description of events and fetching dialogue. It’s a beautifully written story, well-articulated, and crafted with layers that’ll certainly pull you along for the ride.
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My journey with the Lincoln Highway took me over a month..If I was describing this in terms of food I would compare it to the richest most perfect desert which is so full of flavour and deliciousness that you do not want to rush one bit of it. The minute I finished this novel I wanted to go straight back in. I feel inadequate to do this justice. For me is was epic, a masterpiece. 

Emmett returns to his father’s farm and  8 year old brother, Billy. Their father has recently died. Billy wants the brothers to travel along the Lincoln Highway to find their Mother. Unbeknownst to them two other boys have escaped the work farm and hitched a ride and have other plans..

There is so much to love about this novel. From the minute I started reading it felt immense, epic. It conjured up feelings I experienced when watching the incredible film, The Road to Perdition - and it felt incredible visual. The story features many road trips and there’s a wonderful sense of place - there’s even a map at the start at the beginning to guide you. Each destination has associations with hopes and dreams, past relationships, with making peace or settling scores and ties into the story of each of the boys and how they came to the work farm.

There are so many incredible characters in this novel but my favourite is Billy. In fact I think Billy might just be my new favourite character ever. Short on years, he is nevertheless, a seam of deep and wonderful wisdom. This is the kind of wisdom which comes from an intuitive and logical perspective, often quite literal his observations are sometimes funny and always make you wonder why you had never thought of that before. 

This is such a big novel and it is worth every bit of the time you spend with it..I feel the story will live with me forever. 
With grateful thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Randomhouse for a digital copy of this wonderful book.
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I absolutely loved this book. It's brilliantly written, with multiple viewpoints reflected in the writing, depending on who's story is being told.

All the characters are perfectly described, the writing style different depending on who we're looking at, and the right level of humour.

A story of two brothers: one driven by doing right in the world, after doing wrong; the other, a young autistic boy, full of intelligence and a love of history and explorers. We meet so many different people, but it never felt too much.

A Ulysses within a Ulysses on their own odyssey. With murder, jokes, violence, brothership and love thrown in.
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The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, published by the Penguin Random House-owned Viking Press.

Although this is the former financier-turned-New York Times-bestselling author's third book, this is the first time I've read his work. I enjoyed this so much, I'm immediately going to seek out his other writing.

The plot is deceptively simple - and no spoilers here, I promise. The year is 1954. Due to his father's death from cancer, the protagonist, 18-year old Emmett Watson, is released early from a juvenile prison work camp in Kansas. 

After receiving a ride home from a kind warden, he arrives back at his father's farm in Nebraska. The farm's about to be foreclosed, and a previous event has made Emmett unpopular in the community. So rather than hanging around, he decides to dust off his prized Studebaker. His plan is to travel across the United States via the titular Lincoln Highway in the hopes of making a fresh start with his little brother, the lovable, 8-year old Billy, who's now in his care. 

However, what was supposed to have been in a relatively straightforward journey meanders down unexpected paths for the brothers and those they meet along the way. Towles has a gift for creating characters who'll live on in your memory long after you've finished reading the last page.
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Such a beautiful, well crafted story. I wanted it too last forever. It is all about the characters. Main characters, secondary characters and tangential ones. Each has a story or connection. The main characters of Emmett and his brother Billy are attempting to get to San Francisco following the Lincoln Highway. Their plans are thwarted, reversed and derailed at times by Duchess and Wooly who start out with them. This is the story of their journey and adventures. It is addictive, warm and engaging. I will probably re read and gift this book. What a story teller Amor Towles is
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The Lincoln highway was brilliant. An absorbing read with great strong characters and kept me interested all the way to the end. I will look out for more written by Amor Towles.
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It's June 1954 and Emmett Watson is returning home from prison having hit a man who then fell and hit his head on the kerb and died.. Emmett's father has just died, the family farm is in foreclosure and he is now the guardian of his 8 year-old brother, With nothing left of the family home, Emmett decides to take Billy to California to track down their mother who left them when they were young. They will take the Lincoln Highway to get there. It sounds like a good plan until Woolly and Duchess, two of Emmett's fellow inmates, appear, having stowed away in Emmett's car. They persuade Emmett to go to New York instead where Woolly's relatives is buried with a small fortune. Thus the adventure unfolds.
I thoroughly enjoyed this remarkable road trip that was packed full of adventures on freight train, a magical circus, the Empire State Building just to name three. There were encounters with other characters with their own extraordinary tales as well such as Ulysses who was searching for his wife and child, the evil Pastor John and to offset him, some very lovely nuns, Sally, Emmett and Billy's neighbour and close friend who brought some well needed practicality along the way. Things that concerned me slightly: we have a brothel scene, but to be fair to the author, he turns it all into a bit of a farce so it isn't quite so offensive, and while Catholics get off quite lightly, other Christian denominations are giving a bit of a bashing which I felt very sad about. Apart from these two slight concerns, I can't recommend this book enough - I loved it..
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If, like me, you loved A Gentleman in Moscow, that's wonderful, but The Lincoln Highway is not the same kind of novel. Best not to enter into it with preconceived notions as that is surely a road leading to disappointment. Go forth with an open mind and let The Lincoln Highway's unique beauty and wisdom enrich your life.

Eighteen year old, Emmett, and his younger brother, Billy, live on a farm in 1954 Nebraska. Life has not been kind to them. Their mother left when Billy was small, their father recently passed leaving them in debt (losing the family farm in the process) and Emmett has just been released from a youth detention facility serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter. What is their plan going forward? To hop in Emmett's Studebaker and drive to California in search of their mother. A worthy goal until their plans are thrown in the air with a surprise visit by Duchess and Woolly, Emmett's compatriots from the youth facility.

The Lincoln Highway is a rich story full of heart, humor and wisdom. Surprisingly, the greatest wisdom comes from Woolly, a slightly medicated, gentle, character who grew up in the bosom of a well-to-do family. He sees the best of every situation and person. It is wonderful to follow him on his journey and spend time reminiscing on his younger years with his much loved extended family.

The journey Emmett and Billy undertake is not unlike that of Ulysses in that the path to the final destination is a bumpy and varied one that brings a multitude of mini adventures. I so enjoyed the many characters we meet along the way and the valuable lessons they bestow upon the brothers. No, this is not the same as A Gentleman in Moscow, but the gentle humor and life's unexpected challenges which enrich the journey are just as rewarding and delightful.
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Emmett has just finished his sentence and on his way back home to his young brother Billy in Nebraska; they intend to make a new start in California. This promises a journey of adventure in itself.

However, two of Emmett’s convict acquaintances have stowed away and join him on his journey – which becomes a jam packed American road trip, full of juicy characters, crime, shady dealings, and above all for Emmett the hope for stability, family and an honest life.

I loved this. The characters are all brilliantly written, they jump off the page and wind you up or make you love them. Emmett and Billy try to follow the road to common sense, but they are tangled up by Duchess and Woolly, the two convicts – Duchess out for all he can get, and Woolly a real innocent naïve and tragic individual. The journey doesn’t follow the straight line of the Lincoln Highway, but takes them off on many and diverse entertaining tangents. Highly recommended – one of the best books I’ve read for a long time.
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I have mixed feelings about this book. A Gentleman in Moscow was always going to be a hard act to follow, and unfortunately this latest novel from Amor Towles just doesn’t quite manage it. Having said that, I did enjoy it, and it offers an original and inventive narrative, with some interesting characters. It’s set in 1954, when 18-year-old Emmett arrives home from the work facility where he has been serving a year’s sentence for involuntary manslaughter. His mother has gone, his father has recently died and the family farm has been foreclosed by the bank. Emmet intends to pick up his (remarkably and sometimes annoyingly precocious) 8 year-old brother and travel west to embark on a new life. But when 2 companions from the work farm arrive unexpectedly on his doorstep, Emmett’s simple plan suddenly becomes more complicated and over the next 10 days we accompany the unlikely quartet as they travel across the country on an unlikely quest. It’s a picaresque tale, with many an unexpected twist and turn, not to mention some violence, and Emmett veers from being too mature to being too naïve. A good read overall, but one in which it’s easy to pick holes, as some of it really puts credibility to the test. Best to simply read and enjoy rather than think about too much.
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Amor Towles is a brilliant storyteller and The Lincoln Highway just confirms it once more.
In many ways this is a return to the style and some of the themes explored in his debut. It is very much about the American Dream, of second beginnings, of being able to just up and leave and still make something of yourself.

For me this is a ritualistic coming of age, a story of reckoning with ones past, a story of friendship and love between mates and siblings, a story about life that at times has a way of trowing all sorts of obstacles in your way. The cast of characters is very eclectic, their actions not always believable - but that adds a sort of mythological vibe to the story, very much in line with the stories Billy loves so much! I truly loved each and every character. I have suffered along them for the unfairness of life, for the suffering it inflicted on them, but I also enjoyed their happy moments and rooted for them to finally have a bit of normality in their life. My heart has been broken over and over again, and that end...oh my word!!!
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What a fabulous book. Never read Amor Towles before but I now wonder why not. I was captivated from the first and really only wanted the story to be about Emmett and Billy but then I found myself immersed in Woolly and Duchess' lives not to mention Sally and all the other fascinating “extras”. 
Never think you know what will happen next because this tale is full of surprises. Some I loved and some I did not want but always the author pulled me into wanting more. Especially at the end which in truth is just the beginning!
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What a book! In typical Amor Towles style this is a slow burn and I found myself wondering when the story was going to pick up but boy does it deliver with the story line becoming ever more connected and after paced and finishing in a rousing crescendo incorporating everyone from the heroes of Ancient Greece to the motley cast of characters involved. This is another winner for Towles, thoroughly enjoyable and an excellent story.
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@HutchHeinemann, a lovely book, perfect for those of us that love a descriptive character led novel. I had never heard of the Lincoln Highway and Emmett and Billy's sometimes calamitous journey made me laugh and cry! Very often I thought I had correctly judged a characters behaviour only to turn the page and realise I had pegged them all wrong. I haven't yet read A Gentleman in Moscow as I felt it may have been over hyped but it is high on my wish list now.
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An atmospheric read with wonderful period details, engaging characters and a quest-like structure. By the end, you’ll hope that Emmett and Willy get everything they’ve dreamt of.
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Thank you so much to the publisher for allowing me to read this book on Netgalley. I read Amor Towles A Gentleman In Moscow last year, and immediately Count Alexander Rostov became one of my favourite literary characters ever. So I was so excited when I heard the synopsis of this new book.

This was a good old fashioned escapade, full of adventure. When Emmett and Billy pack up the Studebaker and head out on the road, we're taken along for the ride on an epic American road trip. The Lincoln Highway was one of the earliest transcontinental highways across the States spanning from New York to California.

Nothing goes to plan for Emmett after two friends from the work farm turn up, having escaped and wanting an adventure of their own. Duchess and Woolly are planning on finding $150,000 of hidden money from Woolly's wealthy family and promise to split the loot 3 ways with Emmett. Along the way all kinds of mishaps happen and trouble gotten into. But the characters are all so loveable, especially the brothers. I loved their bond. And another fantastic character called Ulysses comes to the rescue. 

At 608 pages this is a big book, but at no point did it feel overwhelming. You just get lost in the story. A memorable and highly enjoyable tale. Although I'm not sure how I feel about the ending which is why I'm giving it 4 stars, so close to 5 stars!
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Emmett is released from his sentence at a juvenile camp as his father has died and he needs to look after his brother Billy.  he is shocked when two friends from the camp, Duchess and Wolly, escape to join him.  They have a mad-cap idea to travel to the Adirondacks to takes Woolly's legacy money and need Emmett's car to make it happen.  Along the way the group are separated and rejoined, they are forced to face their past and their responsibilities, and make new friends.  However for Billy and Emmett, all they want to do is follow the Lincoln Highway to California to start their new lives.
This is a wonderful book.  The pace never flags, the characters are carefully and sympathetically drawn and the reader wants them to succeed.  As a reflection of America in the 1950s it hits home, particularly in the contrast between rich and poor, country and city.  Even the ending is both unexpected and also feels right.
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