Nick Hornby examined the travails of contemporary marriage, parenthood and morality through a couple who embark on a quest to be and do good and find it is harder than they imagined.

Hornby’s first two novels, High Fidelity and About a Boy, had both been commercial hits and were to be turned into equally popular films. How to be Good also dealt with a man-boy who had yet to mature fully, David Grant, married to a doctor, Katie. Spurred on by his self-help guru and his wife’s request for a divorce, David sets out to do good in the world. For all his success, Hornby’s fiction has always been more subtle than is generally supposed but wears its heavyweight themes lightly. Here, it is Katie who narrates the tale and learns about herself along the way.

Nick Hornby

All nominated books

How to Be Good