Talking Male Fragility Blues with Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby photographed by Sigrid Estrada

Few writers have managed to pin the millennial male ego under glass the way Nick Hornby has. In his comic novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and the new Juliet, Naked, among others, Hornby picks apart our vanity and insecurity in ways that are as scary as they are entertaining. He’s also written loads of great nonfiction about his love of soccer, literature, and pop music.

Like 1995’s High Fidelity, probably his best-known book, Juliet, Naked concerns a man obsessed with the latter subject. Duncan is a low-rung, fortysomething professor in a British seaside town who runs a website devoted to examining the works of Tucker Crowe, a singer-songwriter who won a cult following before walking away from music and public life 20 years ago. Annie, Duncan’s long-suffering girlfriend, is the third side of the comic triangle at the book’s center.

I caught up with Hornby by phone earlier this week to talk about the new novel, its connections to his most famous novel, and his writing habits. Hornby will be at Politics and Prose tonight at 7 p.m. You can read part one of the interview on DCist right now. The rest, wherein we discuss his first experience adapting another writer’s work for the movies, and his relationship with pop music and other stuff, will is here.

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