The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Penguin Audio, 2021
narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland, Dion Graham
16 hours and 39 minutes
Motivation for reading: Amor Towles is a favorite. I will purchase and read anything he writes.
Source: Hardcover borrowed from my daughter, audible audiobook
Publisher's summary (from goodreads):
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year 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 and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.
June 12, 1954 - The drive from Saline to Morgan was three hours, and for much of it, Emmett hadn't said a word. For the first sixty miles or so, Warden Williams had made an effort at friendly conversation.He told a few stories about his childhood back East and asked a few questions about Emmett's on the farm. But this was the last they'd be together, and Emmett didn't see much sense in going into all of that now. So when they crossed the border from Kansas into Nebraska and the warden turned on the radio, Emmett stared out the window at the prairie, keeping his thoughts to himself.
What an adventure! Amor Towles' new novel, The Lincoln Highway, is a rollicking good story. In addition to the great writing I've come to expect from this author, it features plenty of flawed, but likable characters I enjoyed spending time with. They gave voice to countless quotes and ideas that caused me to pause, reread, and think about for a few more seconds.
The characters of Billy and Woolly were particularly endearing, I wanted to hear more from Sally, but didn't see the point of including Pastor John at all. More editing might have been helpful, but the trend seems to be toward a more hand-off approach to established/successful authors.
This novel is faster-paced than A Gentleman in Moscow, though I still find the Count to be Towles' most memorable character. It's also not nearly as tight as Rules of Civility, which remains my favorite of his three novels.
The audio production, with a cast of superstar narrators, is just wonderful! If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to this novel.