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