by Amor Towles
This book felt like a classic tale from years ago even though it published recently. It is one of those grand adventure tales including a large cast of characters, and an American road trip by train and automobile. Emmett and his brother Billy are trying to find their way in post World War II America after Emmett returns from a stint at a juvenile delinquent work house for committing an unintentional crime. Their mother abandoned them many years before, and their father died recently leaving them penniless after the family farm was foreclosed by the bank. You immediately get the sense that Emmett is an upstanding individual and will be the moral compass of the novel. Billy is a precocious young child who brings the heart to the book.
Before they can set off on the great American road trip to California, two other characters enter the scene, Duchess and Wooly, who turn their world upside down with their schemes, forcing the boys to head in the opposite direction to NYC. Adventure ensues and many lessons are learned.
I often like multiple point of view novels, so the large cast of characters and switching points of view appealed to me. However, I wish some of the supporting characters were developed a bit more, like Sally for example.
I loved the penultimate chapter. However, I didn’t love the final chapter! But it certainly did surprise me.
I have a feeling this book will become a modern classic. I also think it will translate well on film. I loved his previous two books more. However, I’m a fan and will read anything he writes.