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The Lincoln Highway

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  168,317 ratings  ·  19,310 reviews
The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America

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 f
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published October 5th 2021 by Viking
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Karen I noticed it, too, and gave the author credit for inventing a new & improved way of conveying a conversation. Sometimes it's a general summary of what…moreI noticed it, too, and gave the author credit for inventing a new & improved way of conveying a conversation. Sometimes it's a general summary of what was said, and sometimes more complete wording, but it works so well, and without the bothersome commas and open & close quotation marks. I enjoyed it.(less)

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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  168,317 ratings  ·  19,310 reviews

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Oct 28, 2021 rated it liked it
After loving the author's previous two books, one of which is an all-time favorite of mine, no one's more surprised than me that I didn't end up loving The Lincoln Highway.

Emmett has just been released from a juvenile detention facility after serving time for involuntary manslaughter. Now that his father has passed away and he no longer has family in town, he plans to pick up his little brother and drive along the Lincoln Highway to California so that they can start anew. But his carefully laid
Angela M
Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-favorites
I’ve been writing short reviews these last couple of months, but I knew at some point a book would come along and I’d be compelled to say more about it than just a few sentences.
I thought I was going on an adventure across the country on the Lincoln Highway, but I found myself on a journey of the heart with these characters, looking for “fresh starts “, each of them discovering who they are, how they fit into this world, each one having been abandoned in one way or another, each one risi
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

5+++++ stars


The year is 1954 and our trip will take place along The Lincoln Highway. We’ll start in New York City and travel to the end in San Francisco. What you won’t know is how many different “side trips” and wonderful characters that you will encounter on your way. . Buckle up HERE WE GO!!!!!!


Emmet Watson, age 18 is being driven to his home in Nebraska after having
Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Choo choo choo! That’s the sound of my disappointment train which suddenly left the town. With this ominous cue you may sense some very unpopular review is on its way!

I’m not sure if it’s about my changing literary taste or dark winter mood, but lately I start showing less interest to highly appraised and five starred books! After seeing those high recommendations, I thought I would absolutely love this book from the author of Gentleman in Moscow! I have to admit: the beginning was so promisin
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is important to read this if you have triggers >> *Content/Trigger - (view spoiler)


My second Towles!

"But sometimes a man's bad luck becomes too great to surmount, no matter how much time you give him."

"Me, I love surprises. I love it when life pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Like when the blue plate special is turkey and stuffing in the middle of May. But some people just don't like being caught off guard - even by good news."

"In a way, the whiskey bottle was sort of
Elyse  Walters
Oct 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Audiobook….read by Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland, Dion Graham
…..16 hours and 39 minutes

Being a…
“A Gentleman in Moscow” and
“Rules of Civility”…
I was excited as any other fan to dive into Towles third novel.
However …
“The Lincoln Highway” wasn’t my cup of tea.

Great beginning…
as the story moved along, the adventures and stories grew tiresome to me.
I grew tired of Billy’s young voice. His zealous fervent perky-curiosity became annoying and laborious to me.

I wasn’t a fan
Sep 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner from the talent that is Mr Amor Towles .

It’s June 1954, and 18 year old Emmett Watson is being driven home by Warden Williams after serving time in a Kansas youth facility. Emmett has to tie up his late father’s estate, and then he and his little brother Billy will be leaving town for a fresh start in life.

Emmett and Billy have different ideas about which direction they should head - Billy wants to follow the Lincoln Highway, where their mother, (who walked out on the family many
Amor Towles spins a beguiling and rollicking historical adventure set in the 1950s, brilliantly imaginative, and with an unforgettable cast of characters, ostensibly about a Lincoln Highway road trip to California that keeps gets derailed. 18 year old Emmet Watson is a surprisingly composed and mature young man, who arrives back home to Morgen, Nebraska, after serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter at a juvenile work farm in Salina. His unsuccessful farmer father has died, debts mean th ...more
holy cow. this roadtrip is a nightmare. everything that can go wrong, does. all because of duchess, who is one of the most unenjoyable characters to read about in the history of books. and honestly, this is probably closer to a 2 star read, but the relationship between emmett and his younger brother, billy, deserves so much better than that.

and its such a tremendous shame that too many other POVs take away from this amazing brotherly bond. i found nearly every character POV, other than emmetts,
Jul 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Still catching up on books I finished this spring. My apologies. THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY is a gem. I adored Amor Towles's first two novels, and I savored every moment of this one. It's 1954, and three young men and a boy are on the adventure of their lives, traveling between the Midwest and Manhattan and the Adirondacks, and while there are meticulous reasons for their incredible journey, what makes this masterpiece work are each of the characters. They have their scars and their demons and their ec ...more
Margaret M - hiatus (Limited access- will message when I can)
It took a long time for me to make it to the ‘Lincoln Highway’ and what a long winding road / read it was, but what an adventure and what a touching exploration of human nature with this intricate character study from the master storyteller that is Amor Towles.

A mix of very ordinary and extraordinary events shape the lives of two brothers and two uninvited travelling companions, and with a hint of tragedy looming and a sense of the inevitable you know fate will play its part.

Once again, I find m
Anne (On semi-hiatus)
Oct 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, audio
It is hard for me to rate this book because I loved the first third and was extremely disappointed by the rest.

While listening to the first 30% of this book I was so enamored with the writing and the characters I was sure that this novel was going to be my favorite book of the year. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. As soon as the boys hit the road toward the Lincoln Highway Amor Towles' brain was taken over by a much lesser writer who specializes in stories for teenage boys and loves tange
Jan 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars. It might only be the first week of 2022, but I have a feeling this will be my favorite book of the year. It’s been a long time since a book tugged at my emotions like this one did. It grabbed me, and over and over again, I found myself gripping my chest. It hurt. It scared me. But yes, I also laughed.
It’s an adventure story, an odyssey, an “escapade”, as Duchess calls it, with undertones of mythology. Everyone has hopes and dreams and they clash because not a single one can be reali
“… for most people, it doesn’t matter where they live. When they get up in the morning, they’re not looking to change the world… And if it doesn’t matter for most people where they live, it certainly doesn’t matter where they’re going. That’s what gave the Lincoln Highway its charm.”

Let me start by saying that I absolutely adored both Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. They remain two of my very favorite books, with copies of both holding special places on my bookshelf designated for s
I feel like I’ve just been tucked in: snug as a bug in a rug, by this masterful storyteller.

Towles has a way of writing that sweeps a reader away to where only the story matters.
A journey of sorts - a new beginning. It’s 1954. What becomes a direct route along the Lincoln highway - which stretches from the east coast to the west- quickly becomes a backward one. Emmett, who has just finished his time in a juvenile detention, goes home for his younger brother, Billy, to begin their trip. Two othe
Diane S ☔
Oct 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A madcap adventure story, a fantastical story set in the fifties, a story about retribution, forgiveness missed connections, and peopled with some outstanding characters. An ode to reading, travel and the family we have, the family we make.

Towels has the talent to entertain with his scenarios, to pull a reader into a time period, a situation, to make the unbelievable, believable and to entertain so well that almost 600 pages just flyby. These are characters that one doesn't easily forget, even
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I can’t tell you how excited I was that Amor Towles came out with a new book! And it’s a road trip!!
The historic Lincoln Highway

It's 1954, and 18 year old Emmett Watson has just finished serving time at a Kansas juvenile work farm for accidentally killing a boy who was bullying him. His mother abandoned their family years ago, and his father, a man haunted by his failure at farming, has just died, and the bank is poised to foreclose. Emmett doesn't mind losing his home because he's got a plan: p
Aug 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s June 12th 1954 and Warden Williams is taking eighteen year old Emmett Watson home from Salina, a juvenile reform program after which Emmett’s debt to society is paid in full. His father has died, his bank loans against it are called in and the farm is to be sold. His eight year old brother Billy shows him a map of the Lincoln Highway stretching east to west, their intention is to drive Emmett's 1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser westwards to San Francisco. However, best laid plans and all that, w ...more
Cathrine ☯️
5 🎒🎒🎒🎒🎒
592 pages and I miss each and every one of them. I want to start it over again.
Jan 04, 2022 rated it really liked it

"Life is a journey, not a destination." Ralph Waldo Emerson

How many ever reach their destination, their dream of what might be? Life takes us all on side trips, some more enjoyable than others. Would Homer's epic poem have lasted through the ages if Odysseus had gone right home to Penelope? It is a great theme and Towles, mostly, does a terrific job taking us along with the four boys on this meandering trip.

I enjoyed the shared narration. I thought the characters were well-developed, except for
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

2.75 stars

All aboooooooard! There is a love train for this book and it's filling up fast. That train will be leaving the station without me.
Amor Towles is a gifted storyteller. The trouble here was that he couldn't seem to decide which story he wanted to tell. So he told them all. In one novel. What it felt like to me was that he knew a lot of odd and eccentric things about the early to mid-20th century, and he wanted to find a way to include them all in the book. So we get digression after dig
Oct 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
I know I am in the minority, but perhaps because I am not a fan of quest books, this one didn’t live up to the hype for me. I say that having absolutely loved Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. So I eagerly awaited receiving my copy, and I read it through to completion. I didn’t find the characters likable or the plot plausible. It meandered through irrelevant and illogical anecdotes. By the end, I didn’t care what happened to any of them. It also made maneuvering across the country an ...more

’...for most people, it doesn’t matter where they live. When they get up in the morning, they’re not looking to change the world. They want to have a cup of coffee and a piece of toast, put in their eight hours, and wrap up the day with a bottle of beer in front of the TV set. More of less, it’s what they’d be doing whether they lived in Atlanta, Georgia, or Nome, Alaska. And if it doesn’t matter for most people where they live, it certainly doesn’t matter where they’re going.

That’s what gave th
Michael Finocchiaro
This is another beautiful and well-written tale by Amor Towles, almost as heart-warming and addictive as A Gentleman in Moscow. I loved each of the characters, their story arcs, the intersections, the bit players, the Shakespearean and Homeric references, the nostalgic atmosphere. I loved the moral lesson about too much of a particular virtue can become a disservice and even occasionally a vice that was poignantly demonstrated throughout.

What surprises the reader is that we are expecting things
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I was hooked on this tale of adventure featuring two brothers, Emmett, just out of a prison/work camp, and Billy, his younger brother. Immediately I was endeared to each of them, and then the story widens with other narrators who are part, or become part, of Emmett and Billy’s world as they travel the country.

That’s another thing I loved- the adventure story within this novel. It takes place across just ten days and goes in directions I never expected. The layering of the two main characters’ li
Susan Meissner
Mar 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I know the year is still young but I won’t be surprised this masterful novel will be my fave 2022 read. I finished it last night on audio – no wonder it was nominated for an Audie award - at midnight and had to wait until this morning to talk about the ending with my husband who was reading the print version (he finished it at 5:30 this morning having to also wait until I awoke at seven to talk about it).

This, friends, is the best book club kind of book. The kind of book whose prose is so beaut
Diane Barnes
Nov 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do I say about this book? It contains a little bit of everything; drama, comedy, irony, mythology, red herrings, mystery, throw in a little bit of magic, and a large and very wonderful cast of characters. The four main ones: Emmett, the dependable guy everyone can depend on.
Duchess, a wild card capable of anything. Wooley, the wisest slow-witted fellow you've ever met. And 8 year old Billy, no words to describe how intelligent and intuitive and kind he was, and in my opinion, the originator
Sep 07, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really looking forward to this one following the excellent ‘Gentleman in Moscow’ but unfortunately it failed to grip me in the same way. Undoubtedly well written but I felt it generally dragged and failed to engage me. I have read many reviews that contradict my review but at the end of the day it is my personal opinion and nothing else.

In June 1954, eighteen year old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he served fifteen months for involun
Oct 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: overdrive, audio
This book had a promising beginning when 18 year old Emmett Watson returns from serving time for involuntary manslaughter. His parents are dead and the family farm is lost, so Emmett and his 8 year old brother Billy decide to set off to California to start new lives. That promising beginning crashed and burned a few chapters later when Duchess and Woolly, 2 friends from the work farm, turned up to complicate Emmett’s plans.

The book devolved into a picaresque tale without a single believable cha
Nov 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
[3.7] A meandering, long-winded adventure with too many side stories. But the characters, especially Emmett and Billy, kept me reading. The novel moves along at a steady clip and I mostly enjoyed the ride. For me, The Lincoln HIghway falls in the middle of the three Towles' novels - better paced than A Gentleman from Moscow but disappointing compared to The Rules of Civility. ...more
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Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional in Manhattan for over twenty years, he now devotes himself fulltime to writing. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback and was ranked by the Wal ...more

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“For kindness begins where necessity ends.” 48 likes
“—It wasn’t a bother at all, the old gent replied, gesturing toward his bed. I was only reading. Ah, I thought, seeing the corner of the book poking out from the folds of his sheets. I should have known. The poor old chap, he suffers from the most dangerous addiction of all.” 41 likes
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