The mesmerizing debut novel about driving trucks, loving music, and growing up.
A truck driver's daughter who grows up in the front seat of her father's truck, Jo shares her father's love of country music, junk food, and the open highway. Jo's life is a perfect slice of Americana, except that their "open road" is in England, and her father--the gentle, melancholy Bobby Pickering--is from Northern Ireland. The only truly American thing about Jo is her mother, whom she has never met.
Jo is twelve when she and Bobby pick up hitchhiker Cosima Stewart, an American country singer whose band is touring England. They become dedicated fans, and Cosima, touched by the unlikely duo, comes to regard Jo with an indulgent, even sisterly, eye.
But when Jo is sixteen, Bobby sinks into serious despair and Jo seeks refuge in Cosima and the band. When Bobby disappears, Jo's adoration becomes obsessive as she follows her idol all to the way to California. Here, in the sweltering Mohave Desert and alone for the first time, Jo must face the painful truths of her own life, the mother she has never known, and the father she can't force from her mind. With shades of Zadie Smith and Mark Haddon, Albyn Leah Hall's powerful debut is a page-turning study of what frightens us about one another and ourselves; of how we run away and what we can't, ultimately, escape from.
I was twelve years old when Cosima first rode with us.
I hadn't heard of her then. Nobody had. She was just another girl, a hitchhiker with a name you might not remember.
A few things were different...
Praise for The Rhythm of the Road
“I have not stopped thinking about Hall's beautiful and engrossing novel. Her chronicle of a young woman's descent into madness is so rich in compassion...it should be required reading. A memorable and moving work of art.” —Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
“One of those rare literary novels--a fascinating story that keeps you gripped to the end, written in some of the finest prose I have read in a long time.” —Andrea Levy, author of Small Island
“Stunning. Hall unfolds with marvelous authority a vivid, funny, touching, and suspenseful world of wonders.” —Valerie Martin, author of The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories
“Albyn Leah Hall has written a wonderful, full-hearted story, with one of the most memorable heroines in recent fiction. Everyone deserves to read this fine book, and this book deserves to be widely read.” —Hilma Wolitzer, author of The Doctor's Daughter