Book review: Nick Hornby's new novel, 'Funny Girl,' is sedate despite its swinging '60s London setting

January 28, 2015 3:26 PM

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Nick Hornby's last novel, "Juliet, Naked" (2009), felt like a culmination of a kind. Revolving around a reclusive rock star and the fans who will not let him rest, it was a callback to Hornby's early work - "Fever Pitch," a nonfiction account of his soccer fanhood, or his first novel, "High Fidelity," which takes place in a record shop. Hornby has explored similar fascinations in his criticism: "Songbook," a collection of essays about 31 iconic rock songs, or the column "Stuff I've Been Reading," which he has written for the Believer since 2003.

"I think it's still the thing that defines me," he acknowledged in a 2005 interview, although this, of course, suggests some complications of its own. "What I'm interested in now," he continued, "is the idea that anyone who persists and tries to become some kind of artist is emotionally immature. It...

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