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I had planned to speak with him by telephone and then to attend the reading.But as a Red Sox fan, I was conflicted about having to forgo game one of the series.
The fact that it wasn’t just the teenage mum of urban legend—that there was a boy there as well—kind of took me by surprise. Does it start with a situation that takes hold of your imagination? I think that all my books have started with a situation, some kind of fragment of narrative.
Sometimes I can sense that there’s something to it that might develop into something more, and other times it’s just what it is and there’s nothing you can do with it. Did you treat him differently as a narrator because he was an adolescent?
He even went so far as to is your fifth novel, and it’s your first time writing a young-adult novel. I was never quite sure in the process that that’s what I was doing. I think quite a misguided literary culture has grown up in the 20th century that says a book has to have a seriousness of purpose and a seriousness of language.
I had spoken to an editor about doing a young-adult book at some stage, and when I had the idea for this book, I wondered whether this was the one. I wasn’t reading the young-adult reviews in newspapers, and my friends weren’t telling me to read the books, so there was no reason really for me to have discovered them. At the same time, I think this literary culture has developed a mistrust of comedy, and also quite often of narrative.
Obviously, there were a couple of exceptions in England, but most of the time I didn’t want to read a lot of that stuff.
It grew out of seeing a teen couple who were parents near where I live. Is this how you typically start on a larger narrative?Yeah, but it tends not to move very quickly in a lot of these books.book that’s in a bookstore should entertain in some way.The poster responds with quotations from, the Tony Hawk autobiography that Sam has read 40 or 50 times and has largely memorized.In the past, Hawk’s responses have been helpful (if not always entirely on topic), but when Sam finds out that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Hawk’s advice doesn’t seem to help quite as much as Sam wishes it would.is Nick Hornby’s first foray into the genre of the young-adult novel, but Hornby’s readers—adult and young-adult alike—will find that they are not on altogether unfamiliar terrain.All of his novels, including (2005), involve, as he says, “situations where ordinary people living relatively ordinary lives get bent out of shape by something quite momentous.” And many of them orbit around narrators who entertain Tony Hawke-esque obsessions.It’s certainly about a teen, and I would hope that teens would read it, but I’d also hope that if I had written the book about somebody who lived in Alaska, somebody other than Alaskans would read it as well. Pretty much all the books I’ve discovered I’ve written about in From writers? It’s turned novels into something they were never meant to be.In your recent “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column in , you write, “I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of.” Why do you think you had dismissed them? They’re read by very few people and talked about by very few people, while vast swathes of the population are kind of vaguely repelled by them. On some level doesn’t a novel have to involve narrative?Though he no longer writes about sports, Hornby is still an avid fan, and it somehow seemed fitting that we conducted this interview on the first night of this year’s World Series.We were both in Seattle: he was in town from his home in North London to give a reading that evening at the Seattle Public Library.