Sunday, October 24, 2010

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

High Fidelity: A NovelTitle: High Fidelity
Author: Nick Hornby
Pages: 323
Published: 1996 Riverhead
My Rating: 4 stars

This was my introduction to Nick Hornby's writing (although I've enjoyed the movies based on his books) and I have to say that I've never gotten so much enjoyment from a book that has this much swearing and sex-talk.  An excess of those two things usually get to me--I don't have much patience for it--but somehow in this book it seemed less superfluous and more like character development.  Not only that, but I loved that John Cusack was the perfect film representation of the main character.

At the beginning of the book, I admit that it was picturing John Cusack's performance that won me over.  Before long, however, I realized that the book was really holding its own.  The characters were all real people in their own right.  And my, was this a funny book!  Sad in some ways, also...somehow the view on "love" (a.k.a. long term relationships) seemed rather fatalistic, making me realize that I must be further on the idealistic side of the spectrum than I thought.

Nearly every sentence in this book is quotable.  All the Top 5 lists were great fun, even if I'm nowhere near the music geek that Rob (the main character) is.  I certainly didn't always connect with Rob's rambling thoughts, but that made his quest to find meaning in life all the more real and unique.  This book poses the challenge, in the most humorous way possible, to figure out who you are and be deliberate about the choices you make.  I felt that it also made the point that a change in a person's circumstances or behavior doesn't have to mean a change in your relationship.

This was not my typical sort of reading choice, but it was very well done and very enjoyable.  I'll be adding more Nick Hornby to my shelves in the future.


  1. I've yet to read any of Nick Hornby's novels. I did listen to Slam a while back. But what I really adore are his collections of essays from Believer magazine. The first one is called The Polysyllabic Spree. He just talks about what books he's purchased and read over each month. It's both funny and deep in a way only Nick Hornby seems to be able to be!

  2. I like your sentence: 'Nearly every sentence in this book is quotable.' Let me tell you, I had a hard time choosing.
    Loved the book!!

  3. I haven't read any Hornby novels but put this one on my wishlist after read The olysylabbic Spree (which is well worth the read, just keep a notebook beside you to help add to your wishlist!)

  4. Thanks for the heads up about which book of his to look for next! The Polysyllabic Spree sounds fun.

    BookQuoter--I seriously don't know how you would choose! I ended up not writing any down because I felt like I'd just end up rewriting the whole book.

  5. I love this book SO MUCH and am so glad you like it too. I was sceptical about the film because of the switch in settings, but like you, I adored the John Cusack performance (and actually, every actor in that film!)

  6. I second his literary reviews from the Believer - sooooo good! I read Long Way Down, my first fiction by him and really enjoyed it. I have to admit though that High Fidelity is on my list for sure!

  7. I picked up one of Hornby's short stories while I was waiting for something at a grocery store...just to pass the time. I liked it so much, I had the buy the book it was in. I really should read High Fidelity as it has been on my TBR pile for over a year, Thanks for the reminder to do so.


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