“Questions can be so tricky, he said, like forks in the road. You can be having such a nice conversation, and someone will raise a question, and the next thing you know you’re headed off in a whole new direction. In all probability, this new road will lead you to places that are perfectly agreeable, but sometimes you just want to go in the direction you were already headed.”
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles is a book about brothers, betrayals, and a chance for a new start. Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Amor Towles’ previous book, A Gentleman in Moscow. The Lincoln Highway is his third novel. I was initially sceptical about it being as good as the previous book, which was just perfect. This book is well written, and Amor Towles skillfully crafts the story. This novel will keep you engaged throughout.
Amor Towles’ first novel, Rules of Civility, has been highly recommended, and after reading two of his books, I strongly feel I’ll love that as well. I plan to read it before the television series based on it comes out soon. Each of his three books has been a roaring success. Not bad for an investment professional!
The story starts with Emmet Watson being released from prison and coming home to his younger brother Billy. Together, they plan to drive the Lincoln Highway from New York to California, hoping to make a fresh start and even reunite with their mother.
However, their plans get diverted when they realise two of Emmet’s prison mates, Duchess and Woolly, have escaped and want to tag along with them. The story takes you on a wild ride, slowly revealing how each one got to where they are now. A few side stories also get told of characters they meet along the way.
“those who are given something of value without having to earn it are bound to squander it.”
The book opens up in layers, unveiling a different aspect of each personality. It presents a good insight into the characters’ personalities. You feel sorry for the ‘bad guy’ and angry at the ‘good guy’ but also the other way around. Amor Towles is a master at writing characters you empathise with and stories that don’t go as you expect them to…with a nice twist at the end.
For those who fell in love with The Gentleman in Moscow, I’d say leave that book in the past. Comparing any two stories doesn’t do justice to either. Appreciate the story and the perceptive way Towles has understood and narrated each character.
“For kindness begins where necessity ends.”
“If you take a trait that by all appearances is a merit—a trait that is praised by pastors and poets, a trait that we have come to admire in our friends and hope to foster in our children—and you give it to some poor soul in abundance, it will almost certainly prove an obstacle to their happiness. Just as someone can be too smart for their own good, there are those who are too patient for their own good, or too hardworking.”
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