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The Lincoln Highway: A Novel de Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway: A Novel (original: 2021; edição: 2021)

de Amor Towles (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
5432834,560 (4.22)49
Título:The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
Autores:Amor Towles (Autor)
Informação:Viking (2021), 592 pages

Work Information

The Lincoln Highway de Amor Towles (2021)


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Mostrando 1-5 de 28 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A gripping modern epic, although including Sally's POV felt a bit forced.
  Unreachableshelf | Nov 25, 2021 |
Summary: A westward trip of two bereaved brothers to start a new life is interrupted when two prison friends of the older brother turn up and hi-jack their plans.

I will say straight out that I think this is one of the best road novels I’ve ever read–leaving Kerouac’s On the Road in the metaphorical dust. Towles allows this journey to unfold rather than pursue the frenetic pace of Kerouac. The adolescent characters have dreams toward which they strive, despite the cards dealt them in life, and while not saints, evidence principles and loyalties not evident in Kerouac’s dissolute young adults who still act the like immature adolescents.

The novel opens in June of 1954 with a warden driving Emmett Watson home on early release from Salinas, a juvenile detention center to which he’d been sentenced for the accidental manslaughter of a young man who struck his head when knocked down by Emmett, retaliating for insults to his family. He has returned because his father had died of cancer, his mother had long ago abandoned the family, and he is the only one to care for his precocious, eight-year old brother Billy. Billy has been looked after by a young neighbor woman, Sally, who has spent her life looking after the men in her life and wants something more.

Emmett realizes staying in his small Nebraska town is not a good idea. He has enemies and a cloud over his head and his father’s farm has been seized by the bank. He envisions a new start with Billy, driving away in his powder blue Studebaker to use his construction skills somewhere that is growing. He thinks Texas, but Billy thinks California, where he hopes to find his mother, based on the trail of postcards she’d sent. Billy has mapped out the route that follows the coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway that runs close to their home. They hope to make it by the July 4 fireworks in San Francisco. Billy’s mother loved fireworks, having left the day after a local display.

Their plans are interrupted when two fellow inmates from Salinas, Duchess and “Woolly,” show up on Emmett’s doorstep. They had escaped in the trunk of the warden’s car. “Duchess” was the son of a theatrical performer who betrayed him to the authorities to escape arrest. “Woolly” suffers some form of cognitive impairment requiring medication to keep him mellow. They want Emmett and Billy to drive them to New York to retrieve a $150,000 trust fund that has been withheld from Woolly, that they offer to split three ways.

Emmett will have none of it. He and Billy pack their kit bags (Billy with Abacus Abernathe’s compendium of heroic stories that he has read 24 times already). They plan to drop the other two at a bus station, but Duchess, who always seems to have other ideas, creates a diversion at the orphanage he once lived in, then steals the Studebaker, and with Woolly takes off for New York, with $3,000 that Emmett’s father had left him, stowed behind the spare tire.

Emmett and Billy, nearly penniless, decide to pursue them the only way they can, by hopping a freight train, and the race is on to intercept them in New York, to retrieve the Studebaker, and hopefully the money, and then take the Lincoln Highway from coast to coast, fulfilling a dream of Billy’s. They make it to New York with the help and protection of a fellow hobo, Ulysses, who left his wife and son after the war and has been wandering ever since. Billy, reads him the story of Ulysses from Professor Abernathe’s book, and in a series of events, Professor Abernathe and Ulysses meet, discussing whether this Ulysses might be reunited with his wife as was the Ulysses of mythology. This encounter, catalyzed by Billy, was one of the high points of the book, capturing the arc of failure, struggle and hope each character pursues.

While all this happens, Emmett pursues Duchess and his car. But he’s not the only one pursuing. Sally, fed up with waiting for them to call to say they’ve arrived safely, and fed up with her domestic life, takes off in pursuit of them.

All of these characters are striving against thwarted destinies to make something of their lives. Billy wants to find the mother who left him. Emmett wants to use construction skills to make a life in a new place by re-habbing and flipping houses, not unlike what he’d been doing before prison. Sally is tired of doing for other men and wants to do for herself. Duchess envisions owning a restaurant like one in which he worked. And Woolly? It seems he would string together a life of “perfect days” untroubled by the demands of his station in life. The Lincoln Highway goes both east and west. Sometimes you have to go backward to go forward, as in the chapter numbering of this book. Sometimes, to get to California, you have to go through New York, uncertain whether you will make your way back, but continuing to hope. ( )
  BobonBooks | Nov 21, 2021 |
New York Times. I read the review before I finished the book. Unfortunately the review spilled the beans on a central question, will they ever get to California? It taught me to avoid spoilers. Fortunately the book is so good it survived that. In the course of ten days most of the action actually take place in New York City in the early 1950s. That made it personal for me as I lived in Brooklyn at that time. So I reacted to the little lines thrown in not as plot points but just for window dressing, like looking at the ocean liners at the Hudson River piers which are no longer there; or the neon signs in Times Square that everyone recognized but also are gone; even the railroad lines that have become the Highline. I was merrily time traveling even if the author never mentioned that what the characters were seeing is no longer part of the Big Apple. Some of us remember. It also takes us to the Empire State Building when it was still the tallest building in the world. Those were the days, but I digress.

This starts off as the story of boys heading off on The Lincoln Highway in search of the mother who abandoned them who they believe is in California. All the events are told and retold from the viewpoints of the participants in chapters named for the storyteller at the moment. What makes this so endearing is the all wise 8-year old and the developmentally challenged young heir of a family that traces their genealogy and wealth back to the revolution. The group also includes a salt of the earth Midwesterner, a Black kid from Harlem, and a lovable, reprehensible young grifter who never had a chance. What brought them together is that the young men all inexplicably wound up in a reform "school" in Nebraska under circumstances that would make most people say "really?". In some sense this is an indictment of law enforcement, the justice system and the correctional system, but this is far from the focus. Instead this is just plain great storytelling. You are never sure where this is going to end. Enjoy the ride. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Nov 17, 2021 |
The reader is left to figure out which classic and to enjoy the telling in all it's delightfulness. It is said the are really only a few plots with all stories and all literature being variants, retellings. Towels is telling us that by making professor Abernathy's book a main character.
Reading this was rewarding and I suspect rereading will be even more rewarding,
The characters all come to life for me. In my mind that is the Mark of a well written book. Each character follows the trajectory of their destination. The ending is fulfilling as the characters have followed their personal roads to their destiny.
At first I think they don't all live happily ever after but then I realized they do.. Each characters ever after is his or her place in the story, in the tellers mind and the lenders imagination. The characters of the great myths come back to life in each retelling. They are a form living in our imagination waiting to be recalled. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Nov 16, 2021 |
In 1954, 18 year old Emmett Watson is released early from a juvenile detention center, and returns to his home town in Nebraska where he meets up with his younger brother Billy. Their father has recently passed away, and the family farm has been sold. Emmett and Billy plan to reunite with their mother who left them years earlier and start life anew. The plan (following the Lincoln Highway to San Francisco) is sidetracked when Emmet and Billy discover that two of Emmett's pals from the juvenile center had secretly hitched a ride with the warden and show up at their house. Duchess, charming but dishonest, and Wooly, a naive, kind teen from a wealthy family, derail their plans. A road trip that takes them to New York involves pit stops at former residences, train rides, encounters with a Black war vet, a villainous preacher, and an author of a book on heros and adventures, to name just a few.

The book reminded me a lot of This Tender Land which I absolutely loved. Billy and Wooly are heartwarming characters and the road trip story line make the book hard to put down. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Nov 14, 2021 |
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He knew too that he had been an agent of misfortune rather than its author.
... through our misdeeds we may put ourselves in another person’s debt, just as through their misdeeds they put themselves in ours. And since it’s these debts – those we’ve incurred and those we’re owed – that keep us stirring and stewing in the early hours, the only way to get a good night’s sleep is to balance the accounts.
Regardless of who had been provoked by who, or whom by whom, when Emmett hit the Snyder kid at the county fair, he took on a debt just as surely as his father had when he had mortgaged the family farm.
I don’t blame Him. Whom I blame is Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and every other man who’s served as priest or preacher since.
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