Five years after his last novel Nick Hornby is back, with the newly released Funny Girl. In it, he explores a world unlike any of his previous endeavors: Sixties London and its golden years of television. The titular funny girl is Barbara Parker, who, a Lucille Ball fangirl with an eye towards stardom, moves to the big city and reinvents herself as Sophie Straw. She nabs herself a leading role in a BBC sitcom about a young, newly married couple and… becomes a hit. The book nicely dials back the clock to recreate and flesh out that Swinging Sixties period, weaving in an intriguing cast of characters, from the show’s writers (who initially meet in jail) to a snooty critic (playing the villain card). Hornby has a knack for quick and witty dialogue; you can’t help but think what a great series this fictional fish bowl of the TV industry would make — which, of course, is not such a stretch considering the author is currently making the rounds of the awards-show circuit with his screenplay for Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, and already has two novels-turned-films under his belt: High Fidelity and About a Boy.
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