Nick Hornby is the author of six bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down, Juliet, Naked and Funny Girl), as well as a novel for young adults, Slam, and four works of acclaimed non-fiction: Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree and Stuff I've Been Reading. He has written the screenplays for the films Fever Pitch, Wild, Brooklyn and An Education, which was nominated for an Oscar. He lives in Highbury, north London.
More than just a reading of Hornby's fourth novel, this audiobook is nearly an audio play with three excellent actors playing four characters. A famous pervert, an old maid, a crazy chick and a has-been rocker walk into a bar... well, they eventually do walk into a pub or two, but this disparate group of strangers first meet on a tower rooftop. Each of the quartet has independently decided to jump on New Year's Eve. Now, bonded by circumstance, they can't get rid of each other. Vance does a superb job rendering the glib tones of Martin, the TV anchor fallen from grace (he did jail time for having sex with a 15-year-old). His pompous but self-loathing delivery is dead on. Brick, with more than 150 audiobooks under his belt, perfectly nails the earnest voice and cockiness of J.J., the washed-up American rocker. And Kate Reading is outstanding playing both female characters. As Maureen, the older woman with no social life, she exudes quiet, naive dignity, but she really shines as Jess, the young wacko whose rudeness and rebellion are conveyed with a brash comical snap. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 4). (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Three Brits, one Yank: a mother, a teenager, a musician, and a former TV talk-show host. In Hornby's latest, they all come together for a most unusual New Year's Eve. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Four different people find themselves on the same roof on New Year's Eve, but they have one thing in common-they're all there to jump to their deaths. A scandal-plagued talk-show host, a single mom of a disabled young man, a troubled teen, and an aging American musician soon unite in a common cause, to find out why Jess (the teen) can't get her "ex-boyfriend" to return her calls. Down the stairs they go, and thoughts of suicide gradually subside. It all sounds so high concept, but each strand of the plot draws readers into Hornby's web. The novel is so simply written that its depths don't come to full view until well into the reading. Each character takes a turn telling the story in a distinctive voice. Tough questions are asked-why do you want to kill yourself, and why didn't you do it? Are adults any smarter than adolescents? What defines friends and family? Characters are alternately sympathetic and utterly despicable, talk-show-host Martin, particularly. The narrators are occasionally unreliable, with the truth coming from the observers instead. Obviously, a book about suicide is a dark read, but this one is darkly humorous-as Hornby usually is. Teens will identify with or loathe Jess and musician J. J., but they will also find themselves in the shoes of Maureen and Martin. This somewhat philosophical work will appeal to Hornby's fans but has plenty to attract new audiences as well.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.