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About a Boyby Nick Hornby
Synopses & Reviews
When British writer Nick Hornby's first novel, High Fidelity, was published in America in 1995, it charmed critics and readers alike. Everyone fell for the humorous and hip tale of a group of London slackers looking for love, good times, and good tunes. Entertainment Weekly named the novel one of the year's top ten books, and GQ called it "...as funny, compulsive, and contemporary a first novel as you could wish for." The book climbed bestseller lists from coast to coast, and the film rights were snapped up by the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Now, Nick Hornby's second novel, About a Boy, is a major motion picture from Universal Studios. Meet 36-year-old Will Freeman, a superficial fellow who hasn't had to work a day in his life, thanks to royalties garnered from a popular Christmas ditty his father wrote. He's perfectly happy living alone in his fashionable, Lego-free flat, with its expensive stereo equipment, hardwood floors, and cream-colored rug that nobody has ever thrown up on. But Will's life takes an unexpected turn when, in a pathetic attempt to expand his potential dating pool into the realm of single mothers, he poses as a single dad.
Though Will's subterfuge fails to land him a woman, it does thrust him into an ersatz father/son relationship with Marcus, a 12-year-old loner whose life is in a tailspin after his mother's suicide attempt. Constantly picked on by bullies at school, Marcus's only consolation comes from the music of Nirvana, until he meets Will. Determined to forge a friendship with the very hip Will, the boy refuses to leave him alone. Imagine Will's surprise when he finds himself bonding with Marcus, who is more of a handful than anyone could bargain for.
Like High Fidelity, here is a hilarious and heartwarming story about the modern man. Funny, fast-paced, and compulsively readable, About a Boy confirms Nick Hornby's status as America's favorite import.
"[V]irtually flawless....Hornby, to his credit, doesn't turn his story into 'The Breeders vs. The Lost Boys.' Instead he takes it somewhere more interesting and original than that....About a Boy is fine stuff — vital, true and droll — while Hornby is clearly a literary performer who understands his own time. One of his gifts is a facility for seeming to be writing about one thing when he's really revealing another." Douglas Cruickshank, Salon.com
"About a Boy is another guy's book: Female characters are drawn with sympathy, but halfheartedly. It's Will and Marcus's world: Girls just live in it. But though Hornby's great gift is for dead-on comic characterizations of no-longer-young males clueless about their own failings, he's a writer of redemptive books." Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Clever and winning." GQ
"Hornby has established himself...as the maestro of the male confessional." The New Yorker
"[A] pleasurable book...both subtle and provocative but put together with a skill that makes it seem simpler than it is. It is, in fact, easier to read than either to forget or convey." Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
"Mr. Hornby's trademark wit, breezy writing and his characters' wry internal dialogues keep the reader cheerfully flipping pages. But once it ends, this TV sitcom-like tale...doesn't haunt the reader with images or observations on human nature the way the best novels do. It just evaporates from memory." Elizabeth Bukowski, The Wall Street Journal
"[Hornby] has an uncanny ability for homing in on wholly contemporary, often serious topics and serving them up in truly hilarious fashion." Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
"[A] lot of fun to read....[I]f we can see the novel's conclusion coming far off down the pike, Mr. Hornby's sharp observations and his quirky comedic instincts insure that our journey there is entertaining, funny — and occasionally affecting." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"The originality and fun spilling over in Hornby's acclaimed debut, High Fidelity, run deep and strong through this second novel....Far more than just boys will be boys, this has the right mix of hilarity and irrepressible characters to attract a wide audience: an upbeat, unqualified success." Kirkus Reviews
"About a Boy meets the essential test of a good novel: you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens. Mr Hornby also writes acutely and amusingly about middle-class, urban England....Mr Hornby is also sentimental, can be trite, and likes to spell out the moral of the story." The Economist
"With any luck, we'll soon have lots of fab and funny writers emulating Nick Hornby, and his kind of accomplishment won't seem quite so foreign." Hal Espen, The New York Times Book Review
Now a major motion picture from Universal Pictures.
Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women—women who would not ordinarily look twice at Will—might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single mothers—bright, attractive, available women—thousands of them, were all over London. He just had to find them.
SPAT: Single Parents—Alone Together. It was a brilliant plan. And Will wasn't going to let the fact that he didn't have a child himself hold him back. A fictional two-year-old named Ned wouldn't be the first thing he'd invented. And it seems to go quite well at first, until he meets an actual twelve-year-old named Marcus, who is more than Will bargained for...
About the Author
Nick Hornby is the author of the bestselling novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and How to be Good, as well as the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the editor of the short story collection Speaking with the Angel. In 1999, he was the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award. He lives in north London.
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