Amy Bloom's Away revitalizes the American road-trip novel from the perspective of a vulnerable but spirited woman. It paints a vivid, earthy and surprising picture of 1920s America, its smells and textures, its population of drifters and con artists, pimps and prostitutes. Away is storytelling at its finest - epic in sweep, but intimate and psychologically acute, moving but unsentimental. Like the novels of Sarah Waters, it is both richly authentic in its period detail and fresh and contemporary in its style. But, above all, Bloom has created an unforgettable character in Lillian Leyb - her voice, haunted, damaged yet innocent, passionate, witty and unpretentious, is so believable and strong that her presence lingers long after the novel ends.