A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E5 | FULL EPISODE

Just Like You | Nick Hornby | A Word on Words | NPT

“I can’t write any books that haven’t got jokes in. I don’t know whether the jokes are funny, but I know that I can’t write with a complete poker face. And I don’t really get books that are 300 pages of no funny because there is no stretch of life that’s 300 pages, no funny.” Celebrated author Nick Hornby talks with NPT host Mary Laura Philpott about his new book JUST LIKE YOU.

AIRED: March 26, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter clacking)

(bell ringing)

(gentle music)

- [Nick] Hi, I'm Nick Hornby.

This is "Just Like You",

a novel about an unlikely romantic relationship

set during the time of Brexit.

- [Mary Laura] What attracted you to telling a love story

with a two-decade age gap?

- Our track record of making connections

in our normal way is really not great.

We choose partners who read the same books as us,

who maybe have had the same educational background as us,

roughly in the same socioeconomic group,

and yet we get divorced all over the place.

So, this clearly isn't the most important thing.

And the more I thought about these people,

I thought maybe it's other things that we connect to.

Maybe it's philosophies of life

and senses of humor and resilience

and all kinds of things that actually,

you can't find out about someone

if you go on a few dates with them.

(lively music)

- What do you think makes a Nick Hornby novel?

What do your books have in common?

- They tend to be set most of them here and now,

where I live and I can't write any books

that haven't got jokes in.

I don't know whether the jokes are funny,

but I know that I can't write

with a completely Poe face.

I have warmth for my people.

I mean, I don't think I could write the books

if I didn't love the people at the center of them

and I try and keep myself optimistic

by making the books kind of optimistic,

although not unrealistically so, I don't think.

(cheery music)

- Why is it important to you to find

the humor in this story?

- Every day consists of something

that's really, really awful, possibly,

and something funny

and I don't really get books

that are 300 pages of no funny,

because there is no stretch of life

that's 300 pages no funny.

- For more of my conversation with Nick Hornby,

visit awordonwords.org and keep reading.

(bell ringing)

- [Nick] I would love to try and write a musical,

stage musical.

I know it's hard, but I love stage musicals

and when they work, I don't think

there's a better evening out.

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