Every young writer can probably tell stories about the chaos and romance of their first year as a working scribe. But Henry Lang, the hero of this novel by Dahlie (A Gentleman’s Guide To Graceful Living, 2008), has juicier tales than most.
Henry's often humiliating, but eventually triumphant, year includes a failed romance with a fourth cousin, a hellish gig ghostwriting for a famous actor and a disastrous run-in with a flock of priceless goats. This is, at heart, a timeless story about a nerd trying to fit in with the cool kids. Henry is born a multimillionaire thanks to family holdings, but that doesn’t help his social status in bohemian, present-day New York. He falls in with the editors of a dodgy literary magazine, who reject his stories after his check clears. His cousin Abby, an up-and-coming rock performer, shoots down his polite romantic advances. And he stumbles into a situation that lands him with a short jail sentence. Harry’s cluelessness is at first a bit frustrating, especially after the goat episode, but he grows up fast when actor Jonathan Kipling hires him to ghostwrite an inspirational novel. This plays like the movie My Favorite Year but far less romanticized. Will Henry stay muzzled by the nondisclosure agreement he’s signed as a ghostwriter, or will he follow his conscience and put everything at risk? Stay tuned.
An engaging novel.