Filled with humor, misadventures, triumphs and sorrow, Amor Towles’ novel The Lincoln Highway (16.5 hours) follows Emmet Watson, his kid brother, Billy, and their friends Duchess and Woolly on an epic road trip from Nebraska to New York.
Each chapter is told from a different point of view, and Edoardo Ballerini narrates as all but two of the characters. He brings nuance to each voice, but his reading of Billy’s perspective is especially convincing. Billy, the precocious child who inspires much of the novel’s action, runs the risk of becoming more symbol than character, but Ballerini captures the wistfulness and vulnerability of a young boy far from home. Marin Ireland is gloriously brassy and brittle as Sally, a sassy Penelope figure who refuses to stay home, and Dion Graham imbues Ulysses, a homeless African American veteran doomed to crisscross America, with weary dignity and courage.
Sometimes, audiobooks merely narrate the original text. In this case, the performances by Ballerini, Ireland and Graham augment it, giving The Lincoln Highway increased complexity and humanity.
Read our starred review of the print edition of ‘The Lincoln Highway.‘