Hornby, Nick/ Хорнби, Ник - Slam/ Слэм (2007)

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Hornby, Nick/ Хорнби, Ник - Slam/ Слэм (2007)

Slam/ Слэм (2007)

Год выпуска: 2008

Автор: Hornby, Nick/ Хорнби, Ник

Исполнитель: Nicholas Hoult/ Николас Хаулт

Жанр: Novel/ Роман

Издательство: Penguin

Язык: ENG

Тип: аудиокнига

Аудио кодек: MP3

Битрейт аудио: 64 kbps

Описание: Nick Hornby is at his best when he writes about the things he knows best: music, sports, and average blokes who don't know how to act their age. And, having written several hilarious and poignant books on such topics, Hornby has earned a well-deserved reputation for being, as the New Yorker calls him, "the maestro of the male confessional." Why he chose to write from the first person point of view of three women in his last two books (How to Be Good and A Long Way Down), is a strange and somewhat underwhelming mystery.

Luckily, Hornby returns to form with his latest book, Slam. The book chronicles the life of Sam, a London teen who idolizes Tony Hawk to almost religious proportions. He talks to his giant poster of Hawk like it is his confessional, revealing his hopes, his sins, and his fears. Sam even imagines the skating legend's responses, which all come from his own bible, Hawk's memoir, Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder.

Sam's life does not completely revolve around skating, however. In fact, he falls hard for a beautiful girl named Alicia who sees that Sam is a good, sweet guy who loves his mother and respects women. As the product of a teen pregnancy, Sam is constantly reminded of the consequences of having sex, and he is acutely aware of how hard his mother has had to struggle to raise him at such a young age. Naturally, the two teens quickly develop a sexual relationship and, naturally, it quickly fizzles. On Sam's sixteenth birthday, however, Alicia reveals that she is pregnant.

This life-altering event separates Sam from other Hornby protagonists such as About a Boy's Will Freeman and High Fidelity's Rob Fleming. While Will and Rob were adults learning a bit late how to grow up, Sam is a teenager faced with the need to grow up too soon. Naturally, this isn't easy for a guy who holds heart-to-heart conversations with a gigantic poster of Tony Hawk, and Sam is prone to as many dim-witted mistakes as his literary predecessors, but he is so immediately likeable, readers will be rooting for him from page one.

Longtime fans should be happy to know that Slam is classic Nick Hornby: light and endearing, insightful without proselytizing. Talk of sex is candid, and Sam's perspective is refreshing for a teen. He dismisses boys who carry around condoms every day as show offs not interested in intimacy, while he acknowledges that relationships based on sex grow stale easily and, eventually, feel like a chore:

Sex is like anything else good: once you have it, you stop being quite so bothered about it. It's there, and it's great and everything, but it doesn't mean you're happy to let everything else go out of the window. If having sex regularly meant listening to Alicia's dad being snobby, and giving up skating, and never seeing mates, then I wasn't sure how much I wanted it. I wanted a girlfriend who'd sleep with me, but I wanted a life as well.

Though only a teenager, Sam shows a maturity that few if any of Hornby's previous protagonists have shown, making him quite possibly the writer's most mature protagonist to date.

Furthermore, Hornby's ability to describe his characters' most treasured pastimes is unparallel. For Sam, Hornby writes about skating with a sense of awe and a certainty that it is, in fact, the sport of modernity:

London gets in the way of every other sport. There are tiny little patches of green where you can play football, or golf, or whatever, and the concrete is trying eat them away. So you play these games in spite of the city… But skating you do because of the city. We need as much concrete and as many stairs and ramps and benches and pavements as you've got. And when the world's been completely paved over, we'll be the only athletes left…and the Olympics will just be a million different skating competitions, and then people might actually watch.

There's an exactness to the descriptions that ought to remind High Fidelity fans of Rob's music obsessions or the reader's own passions. Even those who have never set foot on a skateboard can easily find themselves agreeing fervently, not because they can identify with this love for skating, but because they can identify with the sentiments behind the words. It is this empathy that, even more so than Hornby's brilliant sense of humor, is the hallmark of his style and success.

Sam's revelations arrive in part because of his obsessions—a little Hawk ex machina, if you will—and are presented in a manner that some might dismiss as ridiculous and impossible, but that's what people said about executing a 900. In that regard, perhaps Tony Hawk is the perfect cultural touchstone for this story of a teenager faced with a task that seems overwhelming and impossible. But most certainly, Nick Hornby—a writer who depicts the average man with as much comedy as compassion—was the perfect person to write this story. Slam is a riotous selection for teens and adults alike.

Reviewed by Yennie Cheung

(October, 2007)

СЛЭМ - последний роман Ника Хорнби (с нетерпением ожидаем публикацию Juliet, Naked в этом году). Нет нужды представлять этого автора, поскольку мы все знаем его, по меньшей мере, по голливудским экранизациям его романов High Fidelity и About a Boy. Если в других романах речь идет о мужчинах, средних, так сказать лет, которые никак не могут повзрослеть, никак не могут найти свое место в жизни, то в романе СЛЭМ речь идет о подростке, который вынужден повзрослеть раньше времени. На излете отношений, перед расставанием, его подруга объявлет ему, что она беременна. В этот день главному герою, Сэму, исполняется 16 лет. Что делать? Ему снятся сны, в которых он видит, насколько он не приспособлен для отцовства. Родители Алисы против их отношений. А Сэму хочется кататься на скейтборде и разговаривать с постером своего бордерского идеала, Тони Хока. Этот роман о том, как сложно делать выбор, как хочется убежать от этой необходимости, как жизнь затягивает в себя, оставляя все меньше вариантов. Вместе с тем конец оптимистичен - прошло несколько лет, Алиса живет с ребенком отдельно, а у Сэма новая красивая подруга - может Сэм, этак лет через 15, станет типичным героем романов Хорнби?

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