From the bestselling author ofÂ High Fidelity,Â About a Boy, andÂ A Long Way DownÂ comes a highly anticipated new novel.
Set in 1960’s London,Â Funny GirlÂ is a livelyÂ account ofÂ the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation fromÂ provincial ingĂ©nue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful andÂ humorous, Nick Hornby’s latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015
No, Nick Hornbyâ€™s latest is not a retelling of the story made famous by the old Barbara Streisand movie called Funny Girl â€“ but the allusion to pop culture of the 1960s in this delightful novel is not coincidental. On the surface, this Funny Girl is about a working class English girl who comes of age as a TV star in the days of Carnaby Street, the Beatles, and the musical Hair; what itâ€™s also about is the way the world turned over for everybody â€“ but especially actors and writers — in that explosive era.
Sophie Straw is the gorgeous girl from Blackpool who, like Lucille Ball (to whom Hornby slyly introduces the starstruck Sophie in a late scene), is originally deemed too pretty to be funny; like Ball, she manages through wit, decency and pratfall to become her nationâ€™s sweetheart. Sheâ€™s a great character, and readers â€“ like everyone in swinging London â€“ will love her.
But if Sophie is the star, the rest of the population here â€“ the hilariously narcissistic lover/co-star, the director who pines for Sophie for years, and, my favorite, the writers who give her her vehicles â€“ are exceptional supporting players. And Hornby, who was a bit of a pop culture wunderkind himself, is wise about the way artistsâ€™ (especially writersâ€™) careers morph and change, and what itâ€™s like to define a cultural moment and then watch yourself live past it. — Sara Nelson