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by Nick Hornby

Is it possible to share your life with someone whose record collection is incompatible with your own? Can people have terrible taste and still be worth knowing? Do songs about broken hearts and misery and loneliness mess up your life if consumed in excess? For Rob Fleming, thirty-five years old, a pop addict and owner of a failing record shop, these are the sort of questions that need an answer, and soon. His girlfriend has just left him. Can he really go on living in a poky flat surrounded by vinyl and CDs or should he get a real home, a real family and a real job? Perhaps most difficult of all, will he ever be able to stop thinking about life in terms of the All Time Top Five bands, books, films, songs - even now that he's been dumped again, the top five break-ups. Memorable, sad and very, very funny, this is the truest book you will ever read about the things that really matter.
Download High Fidelity epub
ISBN: 0140295569
ISBN13: 978-0140295566
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Contemporary
Author: Nick Hornby
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Open Market ed edition (May 5, 2005)
Pages: 256 pages
ePUB size: 1967 kb
FB2 size: 1531 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 498
Other Formats: mbr rtf mobi lrf

I've been a fan of the movie "High Fidelity" (starring John Cusack) for years, and recently decided to read the original book. What a treasure! Nick Hornby has created a perfect neurotic, compulsive character in Rob, the owner of a record store in London. Rob loses what may have been the love of his life (Laura) through his petty, irritating, obsessive behavior, which he then turns to tracking down the "Top Five" women who've broken his heart.
At turns hilarious and morose, this is a wonderfully written character sketch about a guy who carries the story through bad dates, bad choices, a failing business, hapless employees, and odd behavior. Having seen the movie first, it's briefly jarring to find the story taking place in England, but the story itself is intact ... or perhaps I should say the movie artfully captures the slightly dysfunctional approach to romance of the book.
High Fidelity is a funny book, though at times not enjoyable. In a nutshell, this is the story of a man-child who is lazy, romantic and pathetic - not only in his love life but also his larger life. The romance is entirely self-directed, which is why Rob is such a pathetic character. It works because it is funny and the author makes you believe that this guy and his sad excuse for a life could actually exist.

Rob is thirty-five going on twenty. His is a character that one feels flashes of sympathy for, but not as often as one wants to kick him in the rear and tell him to grow up and get a life that exists at least some of the time out of his head. (I read this long after seeing the movie and I must say that John Cusack does a brilliant job of bringing Rob to life on the big screen).

Rob's existential crisis revolves around women and his inability to sustain a good relationship. They always leave him (for the most part) and he has no clue that this is just how some relationships end or that he is usually the author of his own rejection. The book revolves around Rob's listing of his five most searing break-ups and his attempt to reconnect with his former flings to answer the question "why?" The larger story is Rob himself and the departure of Laura, the most significant love of his life who has just moved out after sharing a flat (this takes place in London) with him for years. Rob's day job, a fantasy small business where he indulges his preoccupation with pop music and a snobbish world view driven by other's appreciation of the "right" or "wrong" songs, is as much of a disaster as his love life.

Nick Hornby mines both lives for a lot of laughs. His writing is funny and descriptive and one gets to know Rob well (though one does not like Rob at all). This book had a lot of laugh out loud moments. I suspect there might be a little bit of Rob in a lot of guys - though I think maturity and living help stamp out the narcissism and utter self-absorption in those of us who go on to enjoy at least a modest success in our romantic and other lives. There is a lot to be said for growing up and learning - one is unsure if Rob will really embrace those concepts while reading this enjoyable book.
This is a rather belated coming of age story of a single man pushing 40 (turned 36). This book was first published in 1995 and that is why they are still making compilation tapes for friends and significant others instead of making playlists. I like the fact that he did not make his characters one-dimensional even though they could all be caricatures of certain types. It also resonates with me because I tend to live my life in my head as the narrator in the book lives in music. It harkens back to a more innocent time or to the stage of life when music was more important than the livelihood, etc. If the reader is of certain age, s/he would get nostalgic how finding an LP or cassette tape of a certain artist felt like finding a treasure, and also how we used to make serendipitous discoveries in the record stores. Somehow making the discovery with Kindle store or iTunes store do not feel the same as physically finding them.
lucky kitten
All Nick Hornby's books are the same - and they are all wonderful. "Same" because the characters are so "real." They are not perfect. In fact they aren't anywhere near being perfect. But they are all lovable. This is the kind of book that gives me a good feeling about humanity - and helps me forget (temporarily) all the terrible things that are going on in the world.

I was a bit hesitant about reading "High Fidelity," since I know nothing about the current (even remotely current) music scene. I think I could recognize a Frank Sinatra rendition, or maybe even Simon & Garfunkel, but other than that, it's strictly the ancient guys. But although pop music was woven throughout the entire novel, it never sidetracked me from Hornby's main focus on the characters: Rob (the narrator and protagonist), Barry, Dick, and Laura.

Rob is obsessed with sex - and even more obsessed with thinking about it. Nothing unusual or wrong with that. More power to him. You even love him for being so flummoxed by sex. He also thinks a lot about his life - how baffling it is and how unfair that it hasn't turned out better for him. He just sort of bumbles along, then makes lists when prospects seem too overwhelming.

What I like so much about Rob (and other Hornby characters) is that the reader gets to peer inside their heads. You get to know what they are really thinking. Not that their thinking is particularly profound. It's just a sort of puttering along, here and there, without much focus. And that seems (and feels) so human. 4-1/2 stars
I enjoyed the story line and the book. It was assigned in my novel writing class at Emerson College. The writing was clear and a good beginner's writing sample. Unfortunately, I had already seen the movie and I wasn't looking forward to reading it. I can say slidly that it was much better than the movie with John Cusack. If you've seen the actor, you know the type of movies he's type-cast in. Either you like him or not. I usually like his work. I like Nick Hornby's version much better.
High Fidelity