His first book (Fever pitch) was the revival of football literature in the English speaking world. And I understood exactly what his story was about. Branded as a football book, it wasn’t about football. It was about himself. His life and football just happens to be a big part of it. His second book (High Fidelity) then struck me even more. This was me.
Luckily in his third book he wrote a real story (About a boy), not immediately recognisable. Then again, it could have been, but that’s a different story. His fourth novel is “How to be good”. Written from the perspective of a woman, which I find a very difficult thing to do as a male author. Yet I think Hornby does a great job. Different from his other books, where, imho he looks around him, in his own small mind, this book is more philosophical than any of them ever were.
The story is about a woman who is having an affair, therefore has guilt written all over her, though, as a doctor, considers herself a good person. She helps other people get better, even listens to moaners who she knows aren’t ill at all, just need some attention. Her husband then suddenly turns from a cynic into a complete new man. A man with a positive attitude. Someone who gives away plenty of money to the homeless, then decides this isn’t enough and will lodge them. How do you cope with a situation like that?
The result is a very interesting story about people who do not know how to deal with unexpected situations, gurus, problems and themselves. Are they still good people?