Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Free Air
Sinclair Lewis


Bored of the parties and luxuries that come with her socialite lifestyle, Claire Boltwood longs for something more authentic in her life. Desperate for adventure, Claire and her father decide to travel from New York City to the Pacific Northwest in their automobile, a new privilege enjoyed by the rich. Though he is a clever businessman, Claire’s father knows nothing about cars, so he encourages Claire to drive, challenging the gender stereotypes of the early 20th century. Starting in New York City, Claire and her father hit the open road, feeling exhilarated and free. As they travel northwest, they eat food from cuisine below their usual standards, see new sights, and face everyday problems that people of their privilege usually do not. Among these problems is an unexpected trouble with their car, and so the Boltwood’s are forced to stay in a small town nearby as they leave their automobile in the hands of a mechanic named Milt Daggett. Born and raised in the small, unassuming town, Milt is one of the few people within the town that aspires for more in his life. But, he was caught in a rut before he met Claire. As the two grow closer and inspire drastic changes in the other’s personality, Claire and Milt realize that the unfortunate circumstances that led to their chance encounter might have been the best thing to ever happen in their lives.

Paperback, 218pp
Mint Editions, 2021 (1919)
ISBN 9781513279213