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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.
“Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow . . .A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)“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
“Magnificent…Towles is a supreme storyteller, and this one-of-a-kind kind of novel isn’t to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review
“[A] playfully thought-provoking novel… Towles, paying more than a passing nod to Huckleberry Finn, juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion.” —Booklist, Starred review