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High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
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High Fidelity (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Nick Hornby

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,074156212 (3.93)207
Member:Yells
Title:High Fidelity
Authors:Nick Hornby
Info:Riverhead Trade (1996), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read in 2013, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:READ 2013

Work details

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (1995)

  1. 40
    About a Boy by Nick Hornby (Maurizio70)
  2. 10
    Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: Both funny and enjoyable books about a young guy rethinking his life.
  3. 10
    The best a man can get by John O'Farrell (alzo)
  4. 10
    Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn (lampbane)
    lampbane: Another story where music and love are interconnected.
  5. 00
    Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie (sturlington)
  6. 00
    Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both are introspective and character-based novels about a witty and music-obsessed young man suffering from relationship problems. Readers who enjoy savvy, music-literate fiction will enjoy the hip, colloquial prose and rich detail concerning popular music.… (more)
  7. 00
    Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me by Martin Millar (AsYouKnow_Bob)
  8. 00
    The Song is You by Arthur Phillips (elenchus)
    elenchus: Similar taste in music by the protagonists, but a very different novel. Both very good.
  9. 00
    Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting by Brett Milano (Sr_Moreno)
  10. 01
    YOU comma Idiot by Doug Harris (ShelfMonkey)
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» See also 207 mentions

English (145)  Spanish (4)  Norwegian (2)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (156)
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
I know a guy who fancies himself as John Cusack's character in Better Off Dead, Lane. If we were still talking, I'd tell him that he's not - that he's exactly like John Cusack's character, Rob, in High Fidelity. But we're not talking... because he's exactly like Rob. And Rob is probably the most honest look at the modern 30-something guy I've ever read.

That one word captures it all: guy. In Say Anything (and in my last reference to John Cusack), John Cusack's character, Lloyd, is told by his friend Corey, "Don't be a guy. Be a man." That is exactly the struggle for Rob. He knows it, too. There are several moments where he acknowledges his extended adolescence, and how it is the root of all his discomfort now. For a 35 year-old does not fit into a 19 year-old's skin, or psyche, or societal roles. A 35 year-old can't look around at the people achieving what he wants, and still think, it'll come my way. A 35 year-old has to admit he isn't working for it. Yep, there's some timing and luck involved in life, sure. But Rob is not prepared for luck to turn his way; if it did, he either wouldn't recognize it or couldn't grasp it, because he's still acting and thinking like a 19 year-old guy.

It's sad and disappointing not only for him, but for those who love him, like Laura. She sees the potential in him, along with the positives that are already in place. She sticks with him through some excruciating times, because she wants the adult relationship. Perhaps she won't get it with Rob; but she's grown enough to know she won't ever get it if she doesn't act like an adult in her relationships.

The book ends with the reader thinking Rob just might be on the verge of pulling it all together. But there's still something depressing and disappointing about that. The reader gets to see all of Rob's internal dialogue, which is what makes this book so engaging. There is no detachment, no mystique. We see every selfish contradictory stand he takes; we feel every wound he suffers, both self-inflicted and unsolicited; we watch him acknowledge his feelings and try to grow past the immaturity of them. So when he does finally show some growth, it's frustrating that it isn't more. We see how Laura's reunion with him out of laziness doesn't feel good to him. So when he proposes out of similar world-weary sentiments, it's hard to cheer him on, or to feel like Laura's faith is about to rewarded with the man she deserves and can see inside him.

Still, there's no denying the truth of this character, or the universality of his experiences. While it can be awfully alarming and depressing to hear how and why Rob keeps screwing things up, I'm left wishing we were friends so I could argue some of these things out with him, shake him up a bit and help him see things just a little bit differently. Just a little - that's all it would take.

And then I remember: I've met Rob in my real life (more than once, I'm certain) and had these passionate, heart-felt, frustrating conversations already.

And then I'm amazed at what a great book Nick Hornby has written here. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
I did not expect to like this book. I've started the movie several times and not finished it because I just couldn't stand the protagonist (And I usually love John Cusack!). So I started this with very low expectations half thinking i'd toss it if I hated it. But in spite of the fact I thought the protagonist was a miserable arse who only had himself to blame for the state of his life I really enjoyed it. Hornby's writing managed to make a horrible person someone I wanted to spend time with... Although as a nearly 35 year old single person the constant stream of thought of being alone the rest of his life and settling for the best he could do was a bit depressing. ( )
1 vote SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
This has a few very funny lines, and the rest is merely enjoyable. Can you ask for more? You can, but you'll sound greedy. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
It was dull. For me the best way to describe this book is to call it "guy lit". I couldn't feel sympathy for the main character and it just felt like I was reading about my past relationship... ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
High Fidelity is the second Nick Hornby book I've read and I expected to enjoy it more than I actually did. I decided to give this book a read after seeing the excellent John Cusack film for the second time. I wasn't sure what to expect of the novel, knowing as I did that, among other things, Cusack and director Stephen Frears had taken the liberty of relocating the story from London to Chicago.
At 35, Rob is clearly at the crossroads. An avid record enthusiast, he owns a none too successful second hand record store; his mother wonders when he will ever find a 'real' job. Laura, his partner of three years has just walked out on him. So what's a guy to do, he composes a top five list of his most memorable breakups. n short Rob comes across as a rather self indulgent lazy slacker, whiner or loser (take your pick) who would rather reorganise or recategorise his massive record collection then face up to his fear of intimacy and failure to commitment.
High Fidelity is a good but not great (as the critics would have you believe) novel. However it is not just a book for guys. Women reading this book may gain some information in the way of the insights, secrets, obsessions etc into how males think and then again they may conclude we are all losers. High Fidelity although certainly well written is essentially a narrative of observations coupled with humour and the occasional dose of wit without too much analysis. ( )
  AlexisLovesBooks | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
Happily, Hornby does not rely on pop-cultural allusion to limn his characters' inner lives, but uses it instead to create a rich, wry backdrop for them... Hornby is as fine an analyst as he is a funny man, and his book is a true original.
added by Shortride | editTime, Gina Bellafante (Oct 9, 1995)
 
Mr. Hornby captures the loneliness and childishness of adult life with such precision and wit that you'll find yourself nodding and smiling.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times Book Review, Mark Jolly (Sep 3, 1995)
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Virginia
First words
My desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:
1) Alison Ashworth
2) Penny Hardwick
3) Jackie Allen
4) Charlie Nicholson
5) Sarah Kendrew.
Quotations
People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands—literally thousands—of songs about broken hearts and rejection and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most.
"Wenn man sich überlegt, was beim Mann alles schiefgehen kann! Da gibt es das tut-sich-gar-nichts-Problem, das Tut-sich-zu-viel-zu-schnell-Problem, das Kläglicher-Hänger-nach-vielversprechendem-Start-Problem, das Größe-spielt-keine-Rolle-außer-bei-mir-Problem, das Es-ihr-nicht-besorgen-Problem ... und worum haben sich Frauen zu sorgen? Das bißchen Zellulitis? Willkommen im club. Ein kleines Wie-war-ich-wohl? Dito.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Recently dumped by his wealthy girlfriend, record store owner Rob Fleming finds himself in financial trouble and sets out on a pilgrimage to ask his former girlfriends where their relationships went wrong and to learn where his life went off track.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0575400188, Paperback)

It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but the very funny novel High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby's narrator is an early-thirtysomething English guy who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way--on vinyl--and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The romantic trials of the owner of a London record shop, after his girlfriend leaves him for another man.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140293469, 0141037350

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