Monday, March 22, 2010

A few opinions on Nick Hornby

I found a couple of reviews of Juliet, Naked today and I wanted to share them. The first one is a favourable review, and the second, less so:

Baby Got Books

New Dork Review of Books

(and, of course, my own review).

I enjoyed the book greatly, as did BGB, but it is interesting that both of us seemingly found it difficult to explain what the book was about in one sentence. I am somewhat relieved to learn that it is not a personal failing that I was not able to sum this book up in a sentence (or, heaven forbid, six words). Is this a problem of the book? Of Hornby? Certainly not. The answer is that Nick Hornby writes about characters - this book is about two people who are involved in a, yes, highly convenient plot for our benefit. When a writer writes primarily about interesting characters involved in a seemingly uninteresting story, it is often difficult to explain why such a book is so great. Yet the book is indeed great.

Looking back on Hornby's other novels, the same is true. Can you sum up High Fidelity in a sentence? Or How to Be Good? Long Way Down has a fairly straightforward plot, but the characters are still quite strong. And An Education, though containing a thoroughly enjoyable story, is brilliant because of the great character brought to life by Carey Mulligan. So we all love Nick Hornby because of his characters, and the choices they face, and the same is true of Juliet, Naked. I tried to sum up the review further, but, alas, I cannot. I can only simply say that Nick Hornby is a terrific writer and Juliet, Naked proves that point once again.

P.S. watch Nick Hornby interviewed at the Oscars! 

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