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A #1 New York Times Best Seller
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. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew.
But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm—the wily, charismatic Duchess and earnest, offbeat Woolly—have stowed away in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction to the city of New York.
Spanning ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel is a multilayered tale of misadventure and self-discovery, populated by an eclectic cast of characters, from drifters who make their home riding the rails and larger-than-life vaudevillians to the aristocrats of the Upper East Side. An absorbing, exhilarating ride, The Lincoln Highway is a novel as vivid, sweeping, and moving as readers have come to expect from Towles’s work.
For those who did not get to attend one of the events for THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, you can watch my full speech here in which I discuss my novel, the history of the highway, and my writing process in some detail. If you prefer, you can watch me in conversation about the book with Ann Patchett, Erik Larson, Ken Burns, John Grisham or Richard Russo.
“Welcome to the enormous pleasure that is The Lincoln Highway, a big book of camaraderie and adventure in which the miles fly by and the pages turn fast. Set over the course of ten riveting days, the story of these four boys unfolds, refolds, tears, and is taped back together. When you aren’t actually reading the book, you’ll be worrying about the characters, so you might as well stay in your chair and keep reading.” —Ann Patchett
“[A] mischievous, 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 Book Review “Hitch onto this delightful tour de force and you’ll be pulled straight through to the end, helpless against the inventive exuberance of Towles’ storytelling . . . ” —NPR
“Gorgeously crafted . . . The novel embraces the contradictions of our character with a skillful hand, guiding the reader forward with ‘a sensation of floating – like one who’s being carried down a wide river on a warm summer day.’” —Washington Post
“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
“I have been a fan of Amor Towles for a few years now and his recent novel The Lincoln Highway is fantastic. Set in 1954, he uses the story of two brothers to show that our personal journeys are never as linear or predictable as we might hope.”—Bill Gates
Book Clubs, The Lincoln Highway