Wednesday, March 25, 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 Februrary 2015 Q & A at Goodreads:

GR: [In Funny Girl] you have a central character in Sophie who's pointedly unhip about music. Tell me how you decided to make that an attribute of her character and what you feel it says about her.

NH: When I was thinking about the book, I decided for various reasons to set it in the 1960s. I wanted to try and avoid a straightforward swinging '60s theme, which I feel I've seen and read before. Also, the more I thought about it, I felt that to set the book in that world of BBC entertainment, the characters would be a bit squarer, which is different than we're used to thinking about characters in the 1960s. There was a quote, I think from a photographer at the time, "Swinging London was 200 people, and I knew all of them." Their myth has cast a shadow over the whole decade. But there were lots of people doing creative work who weren't aware of that scene, were right on the edge of it, and wouldn't actually feel the effects of it for years to come. Sophie comes from a different tradition, and the Beatles-y, Stones-y mod stuff was just starting as she was beginning to work, so she wouldn't necessarily have seen it coming.

GR: She's also very much her father's daughter.

NH: Right. She works hard, and she hangs out with people who would also be a bit mystified by it all.

GR: I loved the scene where her unquestioned appropriation of her father's politics is disabused. It felt like a major step forward for her from her life in Blackpool, which outside of your book is not a place I'd ever read about. As an American reader, I am tempted to find an equivalent American town.

NH: It'd have to be a fading seaside town that no one goes to anymore because they have more money, so I guess it'd be like an Asbury Park, except Blackpool, being in the north of England, is cold and wet pretty much all the time. It's sort of tragic that people ever went there for...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue