Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rediscovering Nick

I have rediscovered Nick Hornby.

On the weekend I bought An Education on DVD. Hornby wrote the screenplay for which he received an Oscar nomination. I haven’t had time to watch the film yet, but I did start reading his “first teenage novel” Slam last night and have now almost finished it.

My introduction to Hornby was Fever Pitch. I can’t remember now whether I read his book or saw the film first. I think it may have been the book. Fever Pitch was a memoir centred on Hornby’s relationship with English football team Arsenal. It helped revive some of my own childhood memories of going to the football with my Dad but I didn’t have the chance of attaining the same kind of obsession as Hornby. I left England when I was 13 and the last football game I attended was on my birthday in 1971. It was never the same again. My team, Stoke City didn’t have the profile of an Arsenal or a Man United, so it was hard to keep in touch from the other side of the world. However, they did beat Chelsea to win the League Cup, and not long after toured Australia. I was lucky enough to see them play in Sydney but remember nothing of the match.

And hidden in that last paragraph is a key to why I enjoy Hornby’s writing. He manages to add a degree of familiarity to his stories. As if I’ve ALMOST experienced what his characters are going through. It’s not in the details. Their stories are not like my own – but I can imagine that they COULD have been.

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