Nick Hornby brings middle-age mindset to new works

Sun Oct 4, 2009 11:36am EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nick Hornby's new novel has been billed as another touching takes on fandom, music and love but the British author says it is more soaked in mid-life blues than the books that made him famous.

Nearly 15 years after his best-selling novel "High Fidelity" about a record shop owner's music obsessions, Hornby's sixth novel, "Juliet, Naked," follows the relationship between three middle-aged characters -- a U.S. singer and a geeky, obsessed English fan and his unfulfilled girlfriend. It hit U.S. bookstores this week.

But the 52-year-old Hornby sees obvious differences between his new novel and earlier works such as his memoir "Fever Pitch" and novel "About a Boy," which both became hit movies.

"The fact that the characters (in "Juliet, Naked") are older and have way more regrets and have (frittered) away chunks of their life ... is the new thing because that is the time of life I am writing in," he said in an interview.

Hornby also wrote the screenplay for "An Education," which will be released in the United States on Friday, and it also features a major character in mid-life.

"An Education" is Hornby's second screenplay and his first in more than a decade. It is based on an essay by British journalist Lynn Barber about a young girl who encounters a charming man in his 40s.

Inspiration for the characters in "Juliet, Naked" and their disappointments with earlier decisions or indecision in life was drawn from the people around him.

"It is an interesting time, middle age, because it is a time where people start to be regretful," he said. "Certainly the stakes are higher as you get older, all the big decisions about careers and families and partners ... a lot of those have been taken by the time you are in middle age."   Continued...

<p>Writer Nick Hornby poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'An Education' at the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, February 10, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele</p>