The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles


Book cover of Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.

For the past 10 years I have seen 3 books by Amor Towles. The Lincoln Highway which I just finished, Rules of Civility and A Gentleman In Moscow. I never paid much attention even though they all had rave reviews. I am always afraid of Russian novels as I usually have to keep a list of the character’s names next to me as I read the book, so I figured I would give The Lincoln Highway a try.


I finally pickled up The Lincoln Highway a few weeks ago after I read that Amor Towles had once been in finance. I thought maybe I was also destined to be a great writer since we had both started out in the same profession and now write. I do have my Blog.


The Lincoln Highway is not a quick read it is 600 pages, but in the end well worth it. At first I said to myself, 600 pages and takes place only over 10 days, what the hell. The novel takes place in 1954 and is a great example of what America was like at that point in time.


The story centers around 4 main characters. Emmett, who has just been released from a juvenile facility for accidentally killing someone. Billy his 8 year old brother who is somewhat of a know it all. Duchess and Woolly who were in the same facility as Emmet and the three of them became friends. Duchess, seems to move the book forward, carries a chip on his shoulder towards his father who deserted him and is the most charismatic of the four. Woolly comes from a very wealthy family from the East Coast, he is a very kind but sad soul.


At the onset of the novel Emmett and his brother are going to drive out to California after their father dies of cancer. Emmett hopes to build and flip house there. (I guess flipping homes has been going on forever.) They never make it to CA. Before they get a chance to drive west they are visited at their home in Nebraska by Duchess and Woolly. From there they end up going east via car and train for quite an adventure.


The novel has many twists and turns that will keep you reading. There are many minor characters and everyone has their own story to tell and somehow they all interweave into what I thought was a great novel.