Rereading: HIGH ROAD HOME by William Corbin

Nico La Flamme grew up on the streets of Paris during World War Two, on his own, living by his wits and stealing to stay alive along with many others like him. Now the boy has come to America, sponsored by a charity group, who has found foster parents for him in California. But Nico has other ideas, he wants to search for his real father, who may be a teacher in this huge country, but he has only a flimsy newspaper clipping and a journalist’s name to go on. Nico skips out of the hands of his minder in Chicago and begins his search. Soon he meets an American boy in a coffee shop who seems like a kindred spirit, Dud Hamilton, working dull jobs while he tries to get hired as a newspaper reporter. The two join forces for a while, helping each other, but Nico later decides he must continue on his own. Together and separately the boys cross the continent on freight trains and hitchhiking, facing danger and evading police, until at last they’re caught and Nico must face his arranged family. How can he explain his real hopes?

This is Corbin’s first book, and one of his best. The characters spring to life, America in the early 1950s is vivid and real, and the plot is both clever and heart-wrenching at times. Recommended if you can find it.

High Road Home by William Corbin

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