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ABOUT A BOY by Nick Hornby

About a Boy by Nick Hornby (hier online bestellen)

The story:
Will Lightman is a Peter Pan for the 1990s. At 36, the terminally hip North Londoner is unmarried, hyper-concerned with his coolness quotient and blithely living off his father's novelty song royalties. Will sees himself as entirely lacking in hidden depths--and he's proud of it! The only trouble is, his friends are succumbing to responsibilities and children and he's increasingly left out in the cold. How can someone brilliantly equipped for meaningless relationships ensure that he'll continue to meet beautiful Julie Christie-like women and ensure that they'll throw him over before things get too profound? A brief encounter with a single mother sets Will off on his new career, that of "serial nice guy." As far as he's concerned--and remember, concern isn't his strong suit--he's the perfect catch for the young mother on the go. After an interlude of sexual bliss, she'll realise that her child isn't ready for a man in their life and Will can ride off into the Highgate sunset, where more damsels apparently await. The only catch is that the best way to meet these women is at single-parent get-togethers. In one of Nick Hornby's many hilarious (and embarrassing) scenes, Will falls into some serious misrepresentation at SPAT ("Single Parents-- Alone Together"), passing himself off as a bereft single dad: "There was, he thought, an emotional truth here somewhere, and he could see now that his role-playing had a previously unsuspected artistic element to it. He was acting, yes, but in the noblest, most profound sense of the word."
What interferes with Will's career arc, of course, is reality--in the shape of a 12-year-old boy who is in many ways his polar opposite. For Marcus, cool isn't even a possibility, let alone an issue. For starters, he's a victim at his new school. Things at home are pretty awful, too, since his musical-therapist mother seems increasingly in need of therapy herself. All Marcus can do is cobble together information with a mixture of incomprehension, innocence, self-blame and unfettered clear sight. As fans of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity already know, Hornby's insight into laddishness magically combines the serious and the hilarious. About a Boy continues his singular examination of masculine wish-fulfilment and fear. This time, though, the author lets women and children onto the playing field, forcing his feckless hero to leap over an entirely new--and entirely welcome--set of emotional hurdles.

Extract from book:
"Are you being funny?"
People quite often thought Marcus was being funny when he wasn't. He couldn't understand it. Asking his mum whether she'd split up with Roger was a perfectly sensible question, he thought: they'd had a big row, then they'd gone off into the kitchen to talk quietly, and after a little while they'd come out looking serious, and Roger had come over to him, shaken his hand and wished him luck at his new school, and then he'd gone.
"Why would I want to be funny?"
"Well, what does it look like to you?"
"It looks to me like you've split up. But I just wanted to make sure."
"We've split up."
"So he's gone?"
"Yes, Marcus, he's gone."
He didn't think he'd ever get used to this business. He had quite liked Roger, and the three of them had been out a few times; now, apparently, he'd never see him again. He didn't mind, but it was weird if you thought about it. He'd once shared a toilet with Roger, when they were both busting for a pee after a car journey. You'd think that if you'd peed with someone you ought to keep in touch with them somehow.
"What about his pizza?" They'd just ordered three pizzas when the argument started, and they hadn't arrived yet.
"We'll share it. If we're hungry."
"They're big, though. And didn't he order one with pepperoni on it?" Marcus and his mother were vegetarians. Roger wasn't.
"We'll throw it away, then," she said.
"Or we could pick the pepperoni off. I don't think they give you much of it anyway. It's mostly cheese and tomato."
"Marcus, I'm not really thinking about the pizzas right now."
"OK. Sorry. Why did you split up?"
"Oh ... this and that. I don't really know how to explain it."
Marcus wasn't surprised that she couldn't explain what had happened. He'd heard more or less the whole argument, and he hadn't understood a word of it; there seemed to be a piece missing somewhere. When Marcus and his mum argued, you could hear the important bits: too much, too expensive, too late, too young, bad for your teeth, the other channel, homework, fruit. But when his mum and her boyfriends argued, you could listen for hours and still miss the point, the thing, the fruit and homework part of it. It was like they'd been told to argue and just came out with anything they could think of.
"Did he have another girlfriend?"
"I don't think so."
"Have you got another boyfriend?"
She laughed. "Who would that be? The guy who took the pizza orders? No, Marcus, I haven't got another boyfriend. That's not how it works. Not when you're a thirty-eight-year-old working mother. There's a time problem. Ha! There's an everything problem. Why? Does it bother you?"
"I dunno."

About the author:


Buchdaten:
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Sprache: Englisch
Broschiert: 307 Seiten
Verlag: Import (Oktober 2000)
ISBN: 0140285679
Preis: € 7,89

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