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A Long Way Down (2005)

by Nick Hornby

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8,372192813 (3.46)195
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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» See also 195 mentions

English (179)  German (3)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (190)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
I had looked forward to reading this because I thought it was going to be a funny book. (I know suicide isn't funny) but the premise of this sounded like a fun read. It wasn't fun, but it was thought-provoking. A couple of characters were totally annoying, but even they give us something to think about. ( )
  RobertaLea | May 15, 2022 |
You wouldn't think a novel about suicide would be funny, but alas, this one is. Its also sad, and a little depressing at times, but so is life. This is a book about 4 very lost and lonely people, I could relate to all of them at one point or another, well, kinda. Jess was by far my favorite. ( )
  banrions | Dec 7, 2021 |
I've always meant to read a Nick Hornby book, so this tale of four would-be New Year's Eve suicides seemed a good, if slightly perverse, choice to finish out my year. Very engaging, witty, and instructive take on a serious subject. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Het was even geleden dat we nog eens een plak Nick Hornby tussen onze boterham legden, maar we waren er bij voorbaat van overtuigd dat het ons ging smaken.
Hornby heeft een vlotte en toegankelijke stijl en weet als geen ander humor op papier te zetten. Hetzij door de karakters van zijn personages, hetzij door de flitsende dialogen of de situaties waarin de lezer meegezogen wordt: Hornby's boeken hebben vaart en zijn enorm prettig leesvoer.
Daarnaast slaagt hij er ook nog in de condition humaine met rake bewoordingen te schetsen en laat hij zijn personages herkenbaar door het leven laveren zonder in cliché's te vervallen.
Ook hier - waar 4 potentiële zelfmoordenaars elkaar ontmoeten op het dak van een flatgebouw - zijn de situaties geloofwaardig, de personages aandoenlijk en herkenbaar en de plot realistisch en warm. Heerlijk boek, ondanks het zware thema. ( )
  GertDeBie | Mar 22, 2021 |
I feel this book didn't deliver as much as I had hoped. Admittedly, my hopes are always high for Hornby. I really liked the first 150-200 pages but as I was waiting for Hornby's usual insight, I was left sort of empty handed. Well maybe not empty handed. Let's say only one hand was filled. Some characters were rambling on about things that really didn't 'click' with me, I wasn't sure what they were on about sometimes, or sometimes I didn't know why they were going on about it.

Don't get me wrong, I love pointless rambling, but it just wasn't of Hornby's usual level, nearing the end. I still finished this book quite quickly though, and the characters were quite lively painted as usual. Jess did sometimes get a little on my nerves, but that was the point, I'm sure. I was more disappointed about JJ, really. He was the musician, a young guy who had lost faith in music, love and life, but somehow I couldn't relate much to him.

I'd still say this is a quite enjoyable book, especially the first part. It's a quick read and I still adore Hornby's style. The chapters were switched between the characters, each rehashing the events in their own style, which I found quite amusing.

3.5/5 ( )
  superpeer | Feb 1, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (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
To Amanda
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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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.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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