Synopses & Reviews
When twenty-something Henry Lang loses his parents in a sailing accident, he’s left entirely alone in the world but also with an inheritance of fifteen million bucks. He decides to head to Brooklyn to immerse himself in the place he’s quite sure is the absolute heart of American youth culture to try and make it as a writer and editor at a young upstart literary magazine. He hopes to fall in love too.
Unfortunately, Henry soon finds himself navigating increasingly baffling social difficulties with both women and work, eventually leading him to near ruin when he’s hired to ghostwrite a young adult novel. Henry’s integrity and entire fortune are on the line, and no one is sure if he can rescue either.
By turns uproarious and tragic, The Best of Youth is a brilliant comedy of manners, introducing us to a surprising modern-day hero for an age where the mean-spirited and the famous triumph all too often.
"Can a person be too good-natured for his own good? This is the question Michael Dahlie asks in , his sly, thoroughly engaging novel about love, literature, and the strange ways of Brooklyn hipsters. Dahlie is a wonderful writer, with a keen eye for the ridiculous and a deep affection for his well-intentioned but sometimes clueless protagonist." Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children
"Michael Dahlie writes the way Cary Grant used to act, that is, with a seeming effortlessness and grace that is truly maddening to those of us who know how difficult it is. , his fine new novel, is another infuriating case in point." Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls
" is what Jane Austen would write if she were here, now, inhabiting a brilliant, self-conscious young writer who'd just been orphaned and inherited 15 million dollars. This witty, romantic, and irresistible story is a surefire antidote to anyone's modern malaise." Hillary Jordan, author of When She Woke
"Seriously funny. Intensely human. Reminds us that we can be fallible--even ridiculous--and still manage to find dignity, goodness, and courage deep down inside. I loved this book." Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook
"I raced through Michael Dahlie's , which tumbles headlong through the calamities of a hapless young Brooklynite--it's funny, moving, and genially moral, a cautionary tale about inherited wealth and a deadpan comic novel about growing up." Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
"[A] lovable, feel-good novel." Sam Sacks
After inheriting fifteen million dollars, a twenty-four-year-old moves to Brooklyn to pursue his entirely delusional vision of contemporary youth culture.
Henry Lang is a smart but unassuming young man with a degree from Harvard and limited social skills. After his parents are killed in a freak sailing accident, leaving him a substantial inheritance, he moves to Brooklyn to see if he can make it in publishing, perhaps fall in love, and attend the sorts of parties and events that he imagines twenty-somethings in Brooklyn most likely frequent. Unfortunately, Henry is somewhat of a target for other, more savvy Brooklynites. He finds himself in a string of increasingly troubling situations and demoralizing romantic adventures. Things finally fall apart for him in catastrophic ways when he agrees to ghost-write a young adult novel for a charismatic but drug-addicted and sometimes-violent actor. Will Henry lose everything he has to save his integrity? By turns hilarious and tragic, The Best of Youth is a brilliant modern-day comedy of manners.
What happens when an introverted young writer takes on a ghostwriting gig for a violent, drug-addicted Hollywood star? In the case of Henry Lang, the result is a string of outrageous disasters, but disasters that are ultimately hilarious, gripping, and deeply moving.
About the Author
Michael Dahlie won the 2009 PEN/Hemingway Award for his novel A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living, and he received a Whiting Award in 2010. He is currently the Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence at Butler University in Indianapolis.