I loved this author’s previous two books (see my review of The Gentleman in Moscow here) and (see my review of the Rules of Civility here) both of which I gave five stars. This one is remarkable too, but I related to the other two better, and liked their endings more. Still, the writing here is so extraordinarily excellent, and the characters so fresh and fully realized, this one gets a five star rating from me too.
This is an odyssey of adventure of young people that just don’t fit in, and the detours of life that others take us on. It’s a yarn with many side stories of both heroes and failures. Set in the 1950’s, three boys from a work farm for juvenile delinquents– one newly released and two others recently escaped– plus a wonderful eight year old brother, hit the road to make a fresh start. But they have very different ideas of what their destiny looks like, which results in divergent outcomes.
Unlike the Lincoln Highway, which is a direct route, the path of this book is circuitous, and chock full of the unexpected. It leads somewhere completely different. I kept wondering how this would all end, and when it happened, I didn’t see it coming.
This book is slowly paced, but so multilayered, the ten days that the text encompasses are easy to take in, in bite-sized pieces, hopping between points of view. At 592 pages, it did not feel too long, but instead felt like you’d just gotten to know these characters, and then it was over.
If you’re looking for a diverting coming of age escapade The Lincoln Highway might be for you.