The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles

Simply put, this is a great book. Set in 1954 in Nebraska, the story covers only 10 days. The main characters are all kids: three are 18, one is 8 years old but surprisingly is the most clever and mature individual. A trip on the Lincoln Highway to New York is not straight forward, involving both a car and freight trains. Importantly, there are unexpected plot twists, all described with impeccable detail. The characters and themes are richly imagined – this is a must-read book.

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor TowlesIn 1922, Count Alexander Roskov, a member of the Russian aristocracy, is declared an enemy of the state and subjected to “house” arrest in the Hotel Metropol. The description of his demeanour and manners is exquisite and impeccable, hardly surprising for an author whose previous book was Rules of Civility. Alexander creates new and changing relationships with individuals who work in the hotel over the next 32 years. The prose illustrates beautifully the importance of virtues like loyalty. The Soviet Union undergoes dramatic change in this post-revolution period, so Alexander has to be adaptable. The most impactful change occurs when he becomes guardian of a 6-year-old little girl. This is a wonderful book with masterful writing, so a joy to read.