THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY by Amor Towles.
Like many others, I absolutely loved A Gentleman in Moscow by this writer. It took me a while to come to it. How could the story of a Russian aristocrat imprisoned in a Moscow hotel be very gripping? And yet it was a glorious novel; sensitive, moving and funny and as soon as I finished it, I eagerly searched out his first book, Rules of Civility. This was a totally different story of two young women arriving in New York in 1938. Now his third book, The Lincoln Highway is out and deservedly dominating the American best-seller charts. It tells the story of 18-year-old Emmett Watson who is released from a juvenile work farm to pick up his 8-year-old brother and head to a new life in California. But when the warden drives off, he discovers two friends from the work farm have stowed away in the car. The four of them head off to New York City and a whole lot of trouble. This is one of those books which linger long in the mind afterwards. The plot is endlessly surprising but it is the warm descriptions of the four young characters and their bitter-sweet relationships with each other that pull your heartstrings. It is a book which bursts with charm as well as threat. Towles is a master story teller who, like me, began writing after a full-time career in another life (his was finance, mine was journalism). A must read.