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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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Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
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 6, 2016 |
Maureen, Martin, Jess and JJ have only one thing in common - their intent to jump off the Toppers Building on New Years Eve. Instead they end up looking for Jess's ex, forming a loose friendship and making an agreement to wait another six weeks to see if they can change their lives.

I am not really sure what the point of this book was. By the final page nothing has been resolved. Only one of the characters has made any appreciable changes in their life. The other three still live in the same sorry state of existance. I can't say that I even cared if they jumped or not. I found both Jess and Martin to be unlikeableand Maureen and JJ had no personality. On the whole I found the whole book to be rather depressing and dull. Someone must be getting something out of Hornby's books because they keep getting made into movies (not this one though) but this is my second book by this author and it will probably my last. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Nick Hornby writes like people talk and his books are about ordinary people trying to live ordinary lives. A Long Way Down presents one his most dramatic premises -- four people intending to commit suicide run into each other on the top of the same building.

Hornby takes a unique approach of alternating perspectives every chapter. The effect is not unlike a documentary, in which interviews with several people are woven together to create a single forward narrative.

Because of the three act structure, large amounts of dialogue and relatively static set pieces, I could really imagine this acted out on the stage. In that way, it felt a little less "novel-y" than other novels, but if that kind of thing doesn't bug you, then full speed ahead.

I should add that this is a funny book. Yeah, okay, it's about suicide. But it's great fun watching the characters' personalities clash. In many ways they don't like each other, but at the same time they realize they need each others' help to keep going.

I really got to liking each of the characters, too, even though they'd done things (and continue to do things) that are not completely likable. And really, it's a testament to Hornby's talent that he can pull off a comedy about wanting to kill yourself so effortlessly.
( )
  wethewatched | Jan 7, 2016 |
This book opens with four strangers making their way to the top of a building in London on New Years Eve, each with the intention of jumping off and ending their life. Instead of jumping, they end up forming unlikely, odd relationships with one another. The narraration switches between each of the characters. It was a very enjoyable read. I laughed out loud a lot, and the characters were quite likable, despite many of their not so likable qualities. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
fun read about 4 people who meet trying to commit suicide ( )
  lindaspangler | Jun 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (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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