Ancient Highway: Book summary and reviews of Ancient Highway by Bret Lott

Ancient Highway

A Novel

by Bret Lott

Ancient Highway by Bret Lott X
Ancient Highway by Bret Lott
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2008
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Ancient Highway brilliantly weaves together the hopes and regrets of three characters from three generations as they reconcile who they are and who they might have been.

In 1925, a fourteen-year-old boy leaves his family's farm and hops a boxcar in a dusty Texas field, heading for Hollywood and a life in the "flickers." In 1947, a ten-year-old girl aches for a real home with a real family in a wide-open space, far from the crowded Los Angeles streets where her handsome cowboy father chases stardom and her mother holds a secret. In 1980, a young man just out of the Navy visits his elderly yet colorful grandparents in Los Angeles, eager to uncover his family’s silent history.

For the Holmeses, a longing for something else – another place, a second chance – seems to run in the family DNA. From Earl’s journey west toward Hollywood glory, to his daughter Joan's wish for a normal existence away from the bright lights, to his grandson Brad’s yearning for truth, this deep-rooted desire sustains them, no matter how much the goal eludes them. But ultimately, in each generation, a family crisis forces a turning away from the horizon and the acceptance of a reality that is by turns harsh and healing.

Inspired by stories of his own family, Bret Lott beautifully renders the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary faith in a mesmerizing and finely wrought tale of love and letting go.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This chronicle...is sluggish in spots, but Lott's handling of characters and domestic conflicts picks up for readers who stick through the first act." - Publishers Weekly.

"Bret Lott’s writings tell us about the value of family, even when those relationships burst at their psychic seams. Mostly, though, Lott’s fiction takes us into a world marked by traditional values of lasting love, honor and respect. . . . Lott’s majestic prose, with its biblical cadences, further distinguishes this capacious parable of enduring grace and love." - The Charlotte Observer.

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Author Information

Bret Lott Author Biography

Photo © Rick Rhodes

Bret Lott is a native of Los Angeles, California. His parents were raised in Mississippi and East Texas and relocated to Los Angeles in the 1950s.

He is the author of a number of novels including A Song I Knew by Heart, Jewel (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), The Hunt Club, Reed’s Beach, A Stranger’s House, and The Man Who Owned Vermont; and the story collections A Dream of Old Leaves, How to Get Home, and The Difference Between Women and Men; the memoir Fathers, Sons, and Brothers; Ancient Highway and the writing guide Before We Get Started.

Named editor of The Southern Review in 2004, he lives with his wife and two sons near Charleston, South Carolina, and teaches at the College of Charleston and Vermont College.

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