Book Review: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

April 7, 2022


The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles is a coming-of-age story of four juvenile delinquents on a road trip, as well as the people they meet. Mr. Towles is one of the lucky few who can devote their full time to writing.

  • 592 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Viking
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0735222355

Book Review: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
My rating for The Lincoln Highway4

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By all means, I always love a good journey yarn. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles does capture the excitement of travel, the sense of adventure, and the company of strangers along the way.

As in his previous book, A Gentleman in Moscow, Mr. Towles sets up his plot points upfront and revisits them throughout. I actually enjoyed that aspect of both of those books, as well as the slow revelation of each character’s backstory (explaining the reverse chapter numbers).

I really wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did. Emmett is a generic protagonist, and very predictable, which makes him less interesting. On the other hand, Duchess and Woolly are so devious, it becomes over the top at times.

The book tries too hard to be epic in scope, as well as to make its readers feel smart, by beating us over the head with literary references. I would have enjoyed a bit less of references to Odysseus and Shakespeare, and maybe a few references to the pop-culture hero of the time. These references are almost always done by the young Billy, but there are many other legendary travelers in 1954 who would speak much louder to him (from Huck Finn to Superman).

Mr. Towles is a talented author, and at many points, the book shines capturing the adventure. This is especially true when the excitement of not knowing who the group will come across, or what trouble they’ll get into.

This is a book, however, which is meant for discussion and dissection. There’s a lot of discovery, both on the road and in the characters’ growth throughout the story.


Emmett Watson has spent a year on a work farm for involuntary manslaughter. Emmett’s mother has abandoned the family, his father passed away, and all he has left is his brother Billy. He is planning on picking up his brother, selling the farm, and heading west to start a new life.

However, Duchess and Woolly two friends have escaped the farm intending on joining Emmett. Duchess, Woolly, Emmett, as well as Billy all have their own agenda for this road trip.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

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