Amor Towles’s first novel, Rules of Civility, made the best book lists of 2011. A Gentleman in Moscow did the same in 2016. Five years later, his novel, The Lincoln Highway, was chosen by reviewers, bloggers and librarians as a fan favorite of 2021. After reading it, I understand why.
The novel opens on June 12, 1954, with Emmett Watson being released from a boy’s reformatory farm in Salina, Kansas. The warden of the reformatory drives Emmett to his family’s home in Morgen, Nebraska, where he is to be the guardian of his 8-year-old brother Billy following their father’s death. Soon after saying goodbye to the warden, Emmett learns that the family farm is in foreclosure and that two prisoners, Duchess and Woolly, were in the trunk of the warden’s car.
Emmett plans to pack up with Billy and leave Nebraska. Billy convinces Emmett that they should move to California—but Duchess and Woolly persuade Emmett to drive them to New York, first. Emmett agrees, but he promises Billy that they will be in San Francisco for the Fourth of July.
Their journey takes them across the United States on the Lincoln Highway. With summer road trips coming up, this novel is a wonderful ride of a read and perfect for summer days and nights.
Contributed by Maureen Millea Smith, a librarian and reader’s advisor at the Edina Library. She is also a Minnesota Book Award–winning novelist.