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A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Nick Hornby (Author)

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8,509190891 (3.46)206
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)
Title:A Long Way Down
Authors:Nick Hornby (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2006), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (2005)

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English (178)  German (3)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (189)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
If I was rating this book on how much I enjoyed it alone, it would be 1 star. But I gave Hornby partial credit for a modicum of originality and wit. Mostly for the wit.
Maureen, Martin, JJ, and Jess meet at the top of a tower, each with the intent to jump off it and end their own life. The book is narrated from all four perspectives and follows the four as they each make a different choice.

I guess this book would be classified as black humor, but frankly while it was dark, the characters were so unsympathetic by and large that you really didn't care. And while there were some witty moments, there weren't enough to save the book. Not even close.
My first criticism is that I seriously felt at the end of the book that two of the four characters really should have jumped. That's how unlikable and unsympathetic they were. One of them, Jess, was also grating and annoying.

In addition, all four voices were extremely similar. If you are going to write in the first person from four perspectives, the voices can't all sound like the authors voice.
Finally, it was just a boring book. To be at all worthwhile or engaging, you really would have to care about the characters on some level, but there's almost no opportunity. Maureen is the most sympathetic, but I never really felt her pain. I never felt any of their pain. They were all presumably conflicted, but they all just came across as incredibly self involved.

After 100 pages, I really didn't want to finish this one, but I forced myself. And it didn't improve one bit. In fact, there was one scene, an "intervention" of sorts, and that was really when the book should have been just tossed to the side. Just totally not my thing. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (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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The cure for unhappiness is happiness. I don't care what anyone says. --Elizabeth McCracken, Niagara Falls All Over Again
To Amanda
First words
Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?
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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Average: (3.46)
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