Charlie and Elaine are getting a divorce. This would be a pretty stressful time no matter what, but Charlie is about to learn one of the great truths of life: don’t piss off a newspaper columnist.
Now Elaine is writing a weekly column called, appropriately enough “BASTARD!” And, as the title of this story would lead you to believe, it’s a big hit.
I’ve been a Nick Hornby fan for years, since I read High Fidelity after seeing the movie. He doesn’t release books very often (and I accidently read Fever Pitch, not realizing that it was nonfiction and about football—or soccer, as we call it here) so I was very excited to hear about this Kindle single.
Yes, this is a short story (29 pages, according to Goodreads) but beggars can’t be choosers and Nick Hornby hasn’t released a novel in what feels like forever.
If you’re already a fan of his, I think you’ll love this story. It’s very smart and has a ton of great lines. (Example: “That’s what family stories were—amusing accounts of the messes and the fuckups. Take away the love and the laughter, narrate the stories as if the characters had acted with malice and self-absorption and everybody was in a bleak independent film about alcoholism and schizophrenia and child abuse.”)
This story (as with most of Hornby’s books, especially my personal favorite, About a Boy) is intended for those with a dark sense of humor. If you have that, you’ll find this incredibly funny. Otherwise, you’ll probably read this with furrowed brow and wondering exactly how anyone could ever laugh at any of this.
Needless to say, I thought it was hilarious. And very true.