If You Like Nick Hornby, Consider These... Nick Hornby is a popular British novelist and critic who found praise and popularity with the publication of his novel High Fidelity. Hornby’s novels are set in London and usually and are usually told in the first person. His stories often incorporate popular culture and often his characters are obsessed with it. Hornby has also published essays on music and literature and has edited a collection of short stories by other well-known authors. The Rachel Papers, Martin Amis (1974). Hornby’s writing is often compared with Amis, another British novelist who has written about young adults living in Britain. This novel involves a twenty-year-old protagonist who is chronicling his escapades and hopes his newest conquest will be a woman named Rachel. Those who enjoyed the character Will in About a Boy may also enjoy this story. The Barrytown Trilogy, Roddy Doyle*. Set in contemporary Dublin, these three novels, The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1992), and The Van (1991), follow a set of characters, focusing on The Rabbitte family. Those who enjoy High Fidelity will particularly like The Commitments, the volume in which Jimmy Rabbitte, Jr. attempts to form and manage a soul band in Dublin. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (2000). This novel takes place in contemporary London and chronicles the friendship between Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones. The two meet in the 1970s as they are both serving in the military and the story follows the subsequent beginning of their families and also their past. This humorous story might be especially interesting to those who enjoyed the dark humor of Hornby’s A Long Way Down. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh (1993)*. This dark, yet satirical, story is about a group of young Scottish friends whose lives are consumed with their heroin addiction. Hornby himself has praised this novel for its “compassion” and feels Welsh is one of the great contemporary British writers. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler (1983). Tyler writes a story of a woman struggling to raise her three children after her husband leaves her. Told from the point of view of Pearl and her children, this novel may be of interest to those who enjoyed A Long Way Down. Hornby has cited this novel as being influential when he began writing fiction. The Best a Man Can Get: A Novel of Fatherhood and Its Discontents, John O’Farrell (2001). O’Farrell’s novel is an account of a British man who realizes, after the birth of his first child, that he may not be cut out for fatherhood. Michael decides to create a double life, one where he’s a loving father and another where he can enjoy the carefree lifestyle of a single guy. Those who enjoyed aspects of About a Boy and High Fidelity should find this to be an entertaining read. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2001). After the death of his parents, Eggers takes on the task of raising his ten-year-old brother, Toph. Eggers’ memoir of his life as a “single father” is an unexpectedly humorous journey reminiscent of Hornby’s About a Boy. The Best in Rock Fiction, June Sawyers and Anthony DeCurtis (editors) (2005). This is an anthology of stories and excerpts on novels by authors including Hornby, Doyle, Don DeLillo and Sherman Alexie, among others. The book may be a jumping of point for fans of High Fidelity. Goodnight Steve McQueen, Louise Wener (2002). Wener, a former musician and British pop star, writes a story of a twenty- something who dreams of becoming famous with his band but his girlfriend, who works in the professional world, isn’t sure she can remain in a relationship with someone who wants a very different lifestyle. This situation is similar to Rob and Laura’s in High Fidelity. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky (1999). Charlie is a freshman in high school writing to an unidentified reader. Charlie takes us through the ups and downs of being a teenager and how his relationships with friends and music make things a bit easier. Those who identified with Marcus in About a Boy should find inspiration in Charlie’s story. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding (1996).This classic Chick Lit novel is often compared to Hornby’s About a Boy. Bridget has lots in common with About a Boy’s Will, also a singleton trying to find a mate (whether he knows it or not). Fielding’s humorous novel has lots of the self-conscious humor of some of Hornby’s characters and is an enjoyable look at the single life of a Londoner. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995). Grady Tripp finds that he must evaluate his life and how he got to be a “wonder boy” of the literary world when cannot finish his latest novel. This humorous story may entertain those who enjoy the humor of Horby’s fiction. Tripp can be viewed as an older version of High Fidelity’s protagonist, Rob Fleming. *Contains material that may be objectionable to the discerning reader.
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