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How to be good
Nick Hornby
Adult Fiction HORNBY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

H"Good" characters in novels are notoriously hard to create, not because goodness is uninteresting, but because when it's uncontaminated by self-interest it isn't plausible, especially in a comedy. In Hornby's (High Fidelity; About a Boy) hilarious novel, the problem of goodness is dumped on Dr. Katie Carr. After more than 20 years of marriage and two children, Katie has had it: she's having an affair, feels intellectually dull and wishes her husband, David, would turn into a different person. Unfortunately for her, she gets her wish when David, a bitter, semi-employed intellectual who writes a column for a local newspaper subtitled "The Angriest Man in Holloway," becomes a secular saint. To spite her after an argument in which she suggests that they divorce, he goes to a dreadlocked faith-healer named DJ GoodNews. When GoodNews lays his hands on David, he suddenly becomes loving, concerned and utterly humorless. He gives money away, stops writing his column, organizes housing for the homeless (inconveniently enough, with neighbors whose houses have empty rooms) and invites GoodNews to move in. David donates the children's surplus toys to charity and asks them to adopt the uncool kids at school as their friends; their son, Tom, hates this, but his sister, Molly, develops an alarmingly patronizing friendship with a smelly little girl named Hope. Just how will Katie handle being surrounded by all of this horrible goodness? Hornby relies less than usual upon pop references which would be inappropriate for Katie's character anyway, although Homer Simpson is invoked a few times but he has created, without them, a very funny agon of liberalism. (July 9) Forecast: Despite, or perhaps because of, the declining popularity of the self-conscious hipness that made High Fidelity such a hit, Hornby's latest should enjoy even wider U.S. sales, bolstered by a national print ad campaign and author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

"I'm not a bad person. I'm a doctor," says Katie Carr, liberal 1990s North London mother of two. This is her hollow mantra, the only comfort that she can feign while her 20-year marriage to surly David falls to pieces. Just when she is about to be kicked out of the house after confessing to an affair, David returns from a visit with an ecstasy-dropping club kid-turned-faith healer named DJ GoodNews a changed a good man. For his third novel after the male-sympathetic High Fidelity and About a Boy, Hornby hasn't merely gotten in touch with his feminine side (though Katie's violent emotionalism, surgical introspection, and perverse romanticism are all on the mark); more importantly, via Katie he harrowingly portrays how ambivalence attacks the heart like a virus at mid-life. Nothing, not even her children, it seems, is completely deserving of Katie's love or her disgust. Readers will see themselves in all of Katie's flaws especially her selfishness. But fear not, old-school Hornby fans, for this departure is expertly tempered with flecks of humor and pop culture references. Essential for all contemporary fiction collections. Heather McCormack, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Katie Carr
Female
Married
Doctor

David Carr
Male
Married
Angry.
Newspaper columnist



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