Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Long Way Down

By Nick Hornby.

A Long Way Down is the sotry of four people who randomly meet after deciding to kill themselves, by throwing themselves from a building, on new years eve. Except they all choose the same place and a bond / pact is formed so that they can help each other.

The story is narrated by all four characters (Maureen, Martin, Jess and JJ) who have completely different reasons for trying to do what they all wanted to do. The group (or 'gang' as they put it) are sometimes led down a completely unbelievable path by Jess' antics.

I could not stand the character of Jess, not one bit. If you read it i am sure that you will agree too, the only problem is, she is essential to the story.

Maureen's character, for that matter, was rather boring.
The only real entertainment i received from reading this book was through JJ and Martin, which is just over half the book.

The book also doesn't achieve anything at the end. it just ends, like that. done. None of them are feeling any better (except Maureen), but at least none of them have committed suicide (i don't think that gives anything away).

Having said all this, i couldn't put this book down and read it in 3 days (i was a bit over it from about 3/4 of the way through though).

It's entertaining, it's easy and it is very well written.


Jacob said...

Normally I love Nick Hornby's stuff, but when I read this one last year some time I was a bit disappointed. I think it suffered because the characters weren't up to the standard that Hornby usually sets, in that they were all a bit hackneyed and boring.

Jess, I couldn't agree more, was the worst. I seem to remember one bit in a Jess chapter, she says something alone these lines: "I'm not very good at writing dialogue, so instead I'll just write down the conversation in the style of a script". It might have been Hornby's attempt at highlighting how young and inarticulate she was, but it came off as lazy, lazy writing.

JJ wasn't much better though. Wasn't he the pizza guy? That I can't remember much about him aside from that says pretty much everything that needs to be said about him.

Martin - Ditto. I seemed to imagine him looking like David Koch, so that might be why I disliked him.

In conclusion, no, not my favourite Hornby creation. About A Boy will always be number one.

kiki said...

yeah, totally agreeing with you

i didn't like the two guys much either, just compared to Jess they were a breath of fresh air.

definitely not my favourite hornby book, but there are many books out there that are much, much worse

Jay said...

I liked it too. Didn't LOVE it, but doesn't it make you feel so much better about your own life?

Kath Lockett said...

I read this a couple of years ago, and after '30 Songs' and 'How to be Good', this one was the final straw. Nowhere near as brilliant as 'High Fidelity', 'About a Boy' or Fever Pitch.' Methinks Nickaroonie has hit his peak a few years ago and is now on the long way down himself.....

kiki said...

maybe he should ride to africa?

Femikneesm said...

I wasn't very impressed with this one either. It was a very unsatisfying read - no real character development so I didn't really care about any of them. High Fidelity is, in my view, still the best of his books.

Another Outspoken Female said...

I'm a closet Hornby fan but this book has sat 1/3 read by my bed for weeks now and have obviously not got into it. I think it is because none of the characters are likable, I am finding no empathy for any of them. Perhaps they are less superficially written further into the novel - but it aint got no hook!

Oh no Jacob, now with the image of Kochy in my head there is no ways I can finish it now.

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