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Free Air

Sinclair Lewis

Book Overview: 

This road trip novel is set in the early twentieth century and follows the experiences of an aristocratic New Englander and her father as they travel by automobile from Minneapolis to Seattle. She is wooed and won by a noble but simple commoner she meets along the way. Lewis is at his usual wryly humorous self, poking fun at the upper class and treating the common people only slightly better.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Page_76" id="Page_76">[76] people, but imprison this cook for life. Really! I mean it!"

"Well, he probably does the best he——"

"He does not! These eggs and this bread were perfectly good, before he did black magic over them. And did you see the contemptuous look he gave me when I was so eccentric as to order toast? Oh, Reaper, Reaper, you desire a modern town, yet I wonder if you know how many thousands of tourists go from coast to coast, cursing you? If I could only hang that restaurant man—and the others like him—in a rope of his own hempen griddle cakes! The Great American Frying Pan! I don't expect men building a new town to have time to read Hugh Walpole and James Branch Cabell, but I do expect them to afford a cook who can fry eggs!"

As she paid the check, Claire tried to think of some protest which would have any effect on the obese wits of the restaurant man. In face of his pink puffiness she gave it up. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

It's 1919 and Miss Claire Boltwood of Brooklyn and her father are on a road trip. They are driving west from Minneapolis to Seattle.

Think about it. Most of the roads are not paved. You have to buy gas in cans from a hardware store. The only mechanic in a small Montana town might be the blacksmit...more

Written in 1919, this is the story of Claire Boltwood - NY socialite on a road trip with her wealthy businessman father from Minnesota to Seattle. They get a true taste of the wide open spaces as they motor their car through the small towns of the plains and mountains of the west. Perhaps their b...more

Written in 1919 this story is one of the first in the tradition of road trip books. Jaunty with the verbal slapstick comedy and slang it is a great little piece of the era. Lewis has as his hero the working man Milt who is in love, maybe, with the upper class Claire. They meet on on a cross count...more

An absolute delight. I won't give it away, but it is just a light-hearted romp taking place in the early 1900s.

If you can get over the condescending, cynical tone of the narrator, book stands our for a couple of reasons - it describes a cross-country car trip at the dawn of the motor age, and again has a female character as the main character. I thought the romance with the man from the middle west was co...more

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