Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby's best-known books are the internationally bestselling novels High Fidelity, About A Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down and Juliet, Naked. His non-fiction books include the football memoir Fever Pitch and The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of his essays on books and culture. He is also the author of Slam, which is vintage Hornby for teenagers.

Hornby's new novel is Funny Girl.

From his Q & A with Dan Kois for Slate:

I watched An Education again last night, and Funny Girl feels to me a little bit like an answer to that movie. Sophie becomes a TV star and she gets to live the life, in a way, that Jenny wanted for herself.


But Sophie isn’t punished for her big dreams. Was that something that you shared when you were a kid? Did you have these dreams, or did you ever anticipate any sort of creative life for yourself?

All forms of culture were really important to me from about the age, well, starting with football, age 11. And then rock music and then books. And I was consumed by all of that stuff. And I grew up in a town outside London where, you know, I had to get on a train to get books. I had to go to London to watch football. Obviously to see bands, to buy records even. So there was always that thing of being pulled towards the city because the city was where culture happened. It wasn’t necessarily where you could achieve ambition. It’s just that there was all this stuff there, and I wanted that stuff.

I can remember going to see Springsteen in, I think, 1981—the first time I’d seen him—and being sort of transformed by the show. It was one of those 3-hour shows. We had magical tickets, in the true sense of the word, tickets where we just kept being shown forwards until we reached the front rows. It was a group of about eight of us, and we were all completely knocked out by the show. But I could see that the other seven, that was it, that was the end of it. Whereas, for me, it was, I have to do something that is somehow connected to what I just saw. And I knew that that was going to separate me from proper jobs and all sorts of things. There was a sense that it made me quite weary and when I was 28, 29, and all my friends had mortgages and money and jobs, I was anxious about it. But there wasn’t anything I could about it.

So I completely understand Sophie and I completely understood Jenny in An Education—I understood that that was the middle-class girl’s way of doing it. And, in fact, the Oxford route, which was the route she had to take, is a lot harder and less rewarding than the instant glamour route that Pete Sarsgaard’s character was offering. But, in Jenny’s case, it’s mostly high culture. And, in Sophie’s case, it’s popular culture—but it’s still...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue