There is no getting around the fact that British novelist Danny Wallace is going to be compared to Nick Hornby. A lot; which is a disservice to both writers, each talented and possessing a knack from writing sympathetic, slightly flawed character. Both write compelling fiction set around young men living in the UK and struggling to make sense of relationships with the opposite sex… wait, maybe there is a connection here.
Regardless, Charlotte Street is still a remarkable debut (though Charlotte Street is being reintroduced in the U.S. with this reprint, author Wallace has gone on to write a several other books, one of which, Yes Man, was made into the very weak Jim Carry movie. But likely not his fault.). This debut centers around Jason Priestly – yes, he gets that a lot, who is getting over a bad break up and has already ditched a solid career as a teacher to write reviews for a freebie commuter paper. Living with his best friend and former college roommate above that buddy’s video game store, Priestly realizes he is getting too old to be living like he’s still in school.
The story may not be that original, but Wallace’s knack for witty writing and drawing compelling characters make you forget that the plot may have been a bit recycled. Then again Hornby was constantly compared to Tom Perrotta and Douglas Coupland when he first came out and he managed to do ok.
Charlotte Street: A Novel by Danny Wallace/Paperback/416 pages/William Morrow Paperbacks/2012