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A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
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A Long Way Down (2005)

by Nick Hornby

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English (164)  German (3)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
This was one of the longest-standing books on my TBR, and I'm SO GLAD I finally read it. It's about four very different strangers who meet on top of a tall building on New Year's Eve, each planning to jump off - only they don't. Instead, they grudgingly head back down the stairs together, and after a rocky night, end up making a pact to stay alive until Valentine's Day and see how things go. I loved the four voices - disgraced TV presenter Martin, downtrodden Maureen, madcap young Jess and musician JJ (he was my favourite) - and the way this single shared experience unites them, separates them, brings them meaning but also trouble, creates opportunities but also slams doors. It was real and blackly humorous and strangely uplifting and I can't wait to read my next Nick Hornby novel! ( )
  elliepotten | Apr 1, 2016 |
Okay Hornby, better than his last novel. A suicide is joined by companions and in the end they all...I won't ruin it for you. Hornby is better than most of what you'll find on the supermarket shelf. Give it a read. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Listening to the audio...this was oddly good with four different readers. I found the analysis by each of the characters about what was happening...thought provoking, to say the least. I have read/listened to nothing else by Hornby so now maybe, from what others have said, I'll look into that. ( )
  nyiper | Mar 31, 2016 |
I loved this book. Nick Hornby knows how to work 4 different characters at the same time and make them all interesting. An amazing reading for those who thought about taking a short cut, but stuck around to see how things would play out. Ironical enough the end of the book was not as good as I'd expected, but still enough to make me an official Nick Hornby fan.l ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
I'm sorry to say I can't give this book a good review. I wanted to read this for so long after I heard an interesting review on NPR. I was really excited, but found the characters underdeveloped and weak. I didn't like or care about any of them. I kept thinking that the climax was yet to come, and something would happen to change the characters profoundly. However I followed these miserable characters around the entire book and not a single one seemed to learn anything or change from their experiences. I was glad it was over. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
...Hornby doesn't confuse the simplicity of this thought with the impossibility of sometimes living it. For all his light touches, he is never superficial enough to suggest that these lives that have fallen apart, in four of the millions of ways lives may do so, can easily be patched up and renewed. Whatever limited consolations the book's survivors find in each other, Hornby resists melodramatic resolutions or glorious moments of redemption, and he doesn't smuggle away or refute all the reasons his characters took with them to the rooftop where they met, the ones that urged them toward the edge rather than down to the ground the slow way, back into the world.
added by lorax | editNew York Times, Chris Heath (Jun 12, 2005)
 
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Epigraph
The cure for unhappiness is happiness. I don't care what anyone says. --Elizabeth McCracken, Niagara Falls All Over Again
Dedication
First words
Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?
Quotations
That’s the thing with the young these days, isn’t it? They watch too many happy endings. Everything has to be wrapped up, with a smile and a tear and a wave. Everyone has learned, found love, seen the error of their ways, discovered the joys of monogamy, or fatherhood, or filial duty, or life itself. In my day, people got shot at the end of films, after learning only that life is hollow, dismal, brutish, and short.
I once asked dad what he'd be doing if he wasn't working in politics and he said he'd be working in politics and what he meant, I think, is that wherever he was in the world, whatever job he was doing, he'd still find a way back, in the way that cats are supposed to be able to find a way back home when they move house. He'd be on the local council or he'd give out pamphlets or something. Anything that was a part of that world, he'd do.
We all spend so much time not saying what we want because we know we can't have it. And because it sounds ungracious or ungrateful or disloyal or childish or banal … Go on, say what you want. Maybe not out loud if it's going to get you into trouble. “I wish I'd never married him.” “I wish she was still alive.” “I wish I'd never had kids with her.” “I wish I had a whole shitload of money.” “I wish all the Albanians would go back to fucking Albania.” Whatever it is, say it to yourself. The truth shall set you free. Either that or it'll get you a punch on the nose.
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Book description
Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve; a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances. Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, 'A Long Way Down' is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140287027, Paperback)

The story is written in the first-person narrative from the points of view of the four main characters, Martin, Maureen, Jess and JJ. These four strangers happen to meet on the roof of a high building called Topper's House in London on New Year's Eve, each with the intent of committing suicide. Their plans for death in solitude are ruined when they meet. The novel recounts their misadventures as they decide to come down from the roof alive - however temporarily that may be.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.… (more)

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