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Click to search this book in our catalog The Lincoln Highway
by Amor Towles

Kirkus Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm. They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCD–like symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New York–bound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Massive but light on its feet, this playfully thought-provoking novel from Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow, 2016) follows a young man newly released from a juvenile work camp through 10 eventful days in 1954. Convicted of accidentally killing a classmate who was taunting him, 18-year-old Emmett Watson has been released a few months early because of his father’s death, and is transported home to Nebraska by the camp’s warden, who unknowingly brings along two work-camp stowaways in the trunk of his car. Just as Emmett is about to head west along the transcontinental Lincoln Highway with his solemn eight-year-old brother, Billy, stowaways Duchess and Woolly take off toward New York with Emmett’s prized baby-blue Studebaker, in which Emmett has hidden all the money he has in the world. Emmett and Billy hop a boxcar in pursuit, in a convoluted chase that involves a vagabond named Ulysses, Emmett’s neighbor Sally, a circus, the author of Billy’s favorite book, and an Adirondack hunting lodge. Towles, paying more than a passing nod to Huckleberry Finn, juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The millions of readers Towles reached with the mega-selling A Gentleman in Moscow will be thrilled to see something new from the author.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal In June 1954, when 18-year-old Emmett Watson is dropped back home by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter, he expects simply to grab his little brother and skedaddle to California. His mother is long gone, his father recently dead, and the farm foreclosed. Then he spots two friends from the farm who surreptitiously hitched a ride on the warden's truck and plan to steer him toward New York instead. Clearly, the author of the New York Times best sellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow aims never to write the same book twice.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm.They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCDlike symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New Yorkbound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history.An exhilarating ride through Americana. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Towles’s magnificent comic road novel (after A Gentleman in Moscow) follows the rowdy escapades of four boys in the 1950s and doubles as an old-fashioned narrative about farms, families, and accidental friendships. In June 1954, 18-year-old Emmett Watson returns to his childhood farm in Morgen, Neb., from a juvenile detention camp. Emmett has been released early from his sentencing for fighting because his father has died and his homestead has been foreclosed. His precocious eight-year-old brother, Billy, greets him, anxious to light out for San Francisco in hopes of finding their mother, who abandoned them. Plans immediately go awry when two escaped inmates from Emmett’s camp, Duchess and Woolly, appear in the Watsons’ barn. Woolly says his grandfather has stashed $150,000 in the family’s Adirondack Mountains cabin, which he offers to split evenly between the three older boys. But Duchess and Woolly take off with Emmett’s Studebaker, leaving the brothers in pursuit as boxcar boys. On the long and winding railway journey, the brothers encounter characters like the scabrous Pastor John and an endearing WWII vet named Ulysses, and Billy’s constant companion, a book titled Professor Abacus Abernathe’s Compendium of Heroes, Adventures, and Other Intrepid Travelers, provides parallel story lines of epic events and heroic adventures. Woolly has a mind for stories, too, comparing his monotonous time in detention to that of Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo and hoping eventually to experience a “one-of-a-kind kind of day.” Towles is a supreme storyteller, and this one-of-a-kind kind of novel isn’t to be missed. (Oct.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the name of the Ulysses character.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog A Virtuous Woman
by Kaye Gibbons

Library Journal Alternating chapters narrated by Ruby Stokes (who is dying of cancer at 45) with those told by her husband, Blinking Jack, after her death, Gibbons creates a scrapbook of their quarter century together as tenant farmers. Too old and tough to be endearing like the protagonist of Ellen Foster ( LJ 4/15/87), the Stokeses are no less honest and vivid as they consider the value of a good mate or good soil. Gibbons again flawlessly reproduces the humor and idiom of rural eastern North Carolina in Ruby's proper country dialect and Jack's peculiarly awful grammar. Recommended for public libraries and collections of regional fiction.-- Maurice Taylor, Brunswick Cty. Lib., Southport, N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Jack Stokes and Ruby Pitt weave this strong, tightly knit love story in alternating chapters that begin when Jack, grieving over Ruby's death four months earlier, evokes the past. In flashbacks, the two richly cadenced Southern voices explore their vastly differing backgrounds, troubled histories and their unlikely but loving marriage. Born into a proud, prominent country family, coddled and adored, Ruby stuns her parents and two brothers by inexplicably running off with John Woodrow, a migrant worker who savagely abuses her. When John is killed in a brawl, Ruby, too proud to ask her family for help, begins doing housework for the wealthy Hoover family, where she meets Jack, a laconic, immensely capable tenant farmer on the Hoover land. He is 40; she is 20. Both lonely and vulnerable, they regard each other cautiously, carry on a wary courtship and embark on a firmly grounded marriage. The union is enriched by a small, supportive circle of friends, who, like the couple's landlord, Burr, are sharply etched and convincingly drawn. Gibbons, author of the critically praised Ellen Foster , has written a vivid, unsentimental, powerful novel. Literary Guild and Double day Book Club alternates. (Apr . ) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Gibbons returns with a new novel in the brief, bittersweet tradition of her earlier Ellen Foster [BKL S 1 87]. In alternating chapters, Ruby and Jack tell of their lives and love for each other. Jack is the victim of an impoverished childhood. Ruby has suffered a disastrous first marriage. She finds happiness with loving, affectionate Jack, though he is 20 years older, fat, and has a twitch. Even their love, though, is no match for life's tragedies: childlessness and Ruby's cancer. Gibbons allows her characters to describe misfortune with excruciating detail and matter-of-factness. The result is another heart-tugging quiet drama. Jack has Ellen Foster's soul--vulnerable, sweet, more knowing than appearance suggests. Ruby has the angelic kindness and domesticity of Ellen's foster mother. A subtle, evocative, and romantic novel. --Deb Robertson

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A straight and true, if somewhat unusual, love is at the heart of this sweet and folksy novella by the much celebrated author of Ellen Foster. Blinking Jack Ernest Stokes (""stokes the fire, stokes the stove, stokes the fiery furnace of hell!"") shares with his younger wife, Ruby Pitt Woodrow Stokes, ""a quiet kind of love,"" born of Jack's essential goodness and Ruby's gratitude. When she first met Jack, her second husband, she was stuck in a horrible marriage to a drinking and cheating migrant worker, who had wooed her with lies and given her a mean and lowdown life. Before running off with nasty John Woodrow at 18, Ruby was the sheltered daughter of a modestly prosperous farmer, and planned on attending college. In one of her charming monologues (which alternate with Jack's), Ruby blames her movie-fed imagination for the mistake from which she cannot turn back. And Woodrow's taunts about Ruby's ""uppity"" background inspires her only vice, the smoking that eventually leads to lung cancer at 45, much to the dismay of gentle Jack, himself 65 at the time. While Ruby's chapters are told in anticipation of her impending death, Jack's look back from the months after the fact, recalling Woodrow's timely murder in a pool-hall fight, Jack and Ruby's odd courtship, and their 25 years of a loving marriage. A tall and skinny tenant farmer, Jack works for his buddy Burr Stanley, a former tenant who married the spoiled, slovenly, knocked-up daughter of the landlord. As much a testament to the unlikely love of Jack and Ruby, this quirky little book also captures in its final chapter--the only one in the third person--the depths of Jack's loneliness and despair after Ruby's gone. Other than his devoted friendship, and a share in his daughter's love (Jack and Ruby couldn't have their own kids), Burr gives Jack the only thing left--a piece of land to call his own. Gibbons flirts with kitsch--one memory recalls a six-year-old girl in a bedful of puppies--but her good country sense argues for a grace and virtue beyond mere sentimentality, and unaffected by religiosity. There's much charm--and a lot of wisdom--in her rural romance. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal This is a love story, plain and simple. Its the tale of a 40-year-old tenant farmer and a 20-year-old daughter of the gentry, who happen upon each other through fate or by chance. Jack and Ruby alternately tell the story of their marriage, painting a picture of deep and varied color. They speak of the everyday events that shaped their lives, their shared philosophies, and their different approaches to problem-solving. This creates a crystal-clear picture of a deep and abiding marriage of both body and soul. But late in the novel, Ruby dies of lung cancer, and Jack is left alone with his recollections and his grief. Gibbons (Ellen Foster, Audio Reviews, LJ 10/15/98) crafts a moving but unsentimental picture of the perfect couple. Her dialog and description, beautifully narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister and Tom Stechschulte, are stunning in their ability to captivate and connect with the reader. Highly recommended.Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal YA-- In alternating chapters, Ruby and Jack Stokes tell of their adult lives: her elopement and hellish life with an abusive migrant farmer, Ruby and Jack's meeting and subsequently happy marriage, and their relationships with Jack's landlord and friend, Burr; his self-centered wife and son; and June, his lovely daughter, whom the Stokes love dearly. Gibbons develops distinct voices for Ruby and Jack, and their reminiscences paint vibrant portraits of themselves and others. The story will prod readers to think about the nature of friendship and love.-- Alice Conlon, University of Houston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In flashbacks, two richly cadenced Southern voices explore vastly different backgrounds, troubled histories and an unlikely but loving marriage. PW found this ``a vivid, unsentimental, powerful novel.'' (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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