The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl (Hardcover)

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Both sweeping and exquisitely intimate, award-winning author Bart Yates blends historical fact and fiction in a surprising, thought-provoking saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man, beginning in 1920s Utah.

“Each day is a story, whether or not that story makes any damn sense or is worth telling to anyone else.”

At the age of ninety-six, Isaac Dahl sits down to write his memoir. For Isaac, an accomplished journalist and historian, finding the right words to convey events is never a problem. But this book will be different from anything he has written before. Focusing on twelve different days, each encapsulated in a chapter, Isaac hopes to distill the very essence of his life.

There are days that begin like any other, only to morph through twists of fate. An avalanche strikes Bingham, Utah, and eight-year-old Isaac and his twin sister, Agnes, survive when they are trapped in an upside-down bathtub. Other days stand apart in history—including a day in 1942, when Isaac, stationed on the USS Houston in the Java Sea as a rookie correspondent, confronts the full horror of war. And there are days spent simply, with his lifelong friend, Bo, or with Danny, the younger man whose love transforms Isaac’s later years—precious days with significance that grows clear only in hindsight.

From the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to a Mississippi school at the apex of the civil rights movement, Isaac tells his story with insight, wisdom, and emotional depth. The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl is a wonderful, singular narrative that will spark conversation and reflection—a reminder that there is no such thing as an ordinary life, and the greatest accomplishment of all is to live and love fully.

About the Author

Bart Yates is the Alex Award-winning author of novels including Leave Myself Behind, The Brothers Bishop, and The Third Hill North of Town, written as Noah Bly. He is also a musician, and plays clarinet, saxophone, and bass guitar. He lives in Iowa City, IA and can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for Bart Yates:
“Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters.” Booklist on Leave Myself Behind
“As a narrator, he’s an agreeable companion, brimming with self-awareness and wit…This is a sequel fans of the original didn’t know they needed.” Publishers Weekly on The Language of Love and Loss

“Hilarious and biting, but also tender and heartfelt. With marvelously drawn characters and profound, at times puckish narration and dialogue, Yates has crafted an entertaining story where the sentimental can be barbed, humorous, sad. This is an honestly and sharply drawn tale presented without compromise.” Little Village Magazine

“The next Holden Caulfield… Bart Yates’ main character and narrator, Noah York, has Caulfield-style teenage authenticity. Noah’s voice is more than just honest or original; it’s real.” The Plain Dealer on Leave Myself Behind
"In his assured debut, Leave Myself Behind, Bart Yates wrung bittersweet romance and wry humor out of brutal fag-bashing and family secrets. His sad, witty follow-up, The Brothers Bishop, begins like a snappy beach read, but soon treads equally dark thematic waters. [Yates]... finds hard-won joy in hot-button issues. His compelling debut novel was no fluke.” Out
“With Leave Myself Behind, Bart Yates gives us both the laugh-out-loud and refreshingly sincere coming-of-age story we’ve been missing all these years.” Instinct Magazine
“One of the strengths of Yates’s writing is his ability to work out complicated plot points and weave together the threads of the story in a dramatically effective manner.” Bay Area Reporter on The Brothers Bishop

Brilliantly written and funny as hell.” Edge Boston on The Distance Between Us

“Absorbing. Brims with quiet intensity.” Publishers Weekly on The Distance Between Us

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496750457
ISBN-10: 1496750454
Publisher: A John Scognamiglio Book
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English