Certainly not the type of book I would pick up if it weren't for the author, whose "High Fidelity" put him firmly on my top 5 contemporary English-language novelist list.
I finished the book five days ago and am still under its spell. Its actual premise, the one not mentioned in the book, is too enormous for me to encapsulate here, but its aspects include:
- what is art?
- when is art a lie?
- who is an artist without his inspiration?
- what makes a fan turn obsessive?
- how does the Internet fuel fandom?
- what do minor celebrities feel when they read about themselves?
- is it better to be happy or creatively brilliant?
- are the two concepts mutually exclusive?
I realise Nick Hornby himself identified the themes in the novel as parenting, middle age and romantic relationships. To me, they are incidental. All I see is a beautiful book about creativity and obsession, and it doesn't take a genius to see the parallels between the fictional musician and the writer who created him.
This is Stephen King's "Misery" gone literary and without the horror bits.