❴Epub❵ ➛ High Fidelity Author Nick Hornby – Agedanna.info
I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating So sue me.Book buying isn t, you know, a quick thing for me I browse, I choose, I read the blurbs inside, I deliberate, I read a chapter from ever book I ve chosen.In short, I only read things I m really likely to like.So, I will tell you right now, if there were a way to give High Fidelity six stars, I would.Ostensibly it s a novel about pop music and love But if that s what you re seeing, then you are reading it wrong.It s a novel about obsession, rejection and minutia As such, Nick Hornby speaks directly to my geeky soul Even though I m not a music expert, I see a lot of myself in the main character Rob escaping into pop, defining his life through records, filling his head with facts rather than feelings and trying, oh so desperately trying, to be a real human being.His relationships never last If he s not outright rejected, then he s the one who gets full of himself and does the rejecting He s not good with people, doesn t want to be, ultimately can t be But he aches for them He s a loner who can t bear to be alone He pushes people away, but wonders why there aren t any people around.Every word in High Fidelity felt familiar, even with a location London and a milieu music fandom that are unfamiliar to me Somehow, Hornby strikes this strange, compelling balance between being incredibly witty on the surface, and being incredibly depressing beneath.Swap out records for comics or videogames, and I am Rob If you re a geek, and a male, and a member of these recent lost generations of slackers and man children , then you are Rob, too. Ah, nostalgia This book takes place in the mid 90s Even though the protagonist is in his 30s, the content really does take me back to my time in high school and college Everything was music and concerts and a lot of the music he talks about is the music everyone was into back then Also, I was a huge fan of the movie when it first came out, but this was my first time reading it.In some ways, Rob reminds me of myself back then insecure, paranoid, over reactive, etc I would think a girl was interested in me and call the over and over thinking that was the best way to win her heart Then, when it didn t work, I would drown my sorrows in music until I tried calling again Now, I will say that Rob definitely goes a bit overboard in his relationships and how he approaches them are toxic But, it is entertaining watching the trainwreck that is his life.I think to enjoy this book you need to be into the writing style cynical, self deprecating humor that leaves you wondering if you love all the characters or hate them I know that this will not be everyone s cup of tea ah, a British book, cup of tea, HA I am here all night, folks I have been looking at some other reviews and it seems like a lot of people despise this one I definitely get that if this was not set during such an important time of my life and if it didn t mirror a lot of aspects of my social life at the time, I probably would be too turned off by the frustrating characters and Rob s basically inappropriate approach to every situation.But, nostalgia wins this time now I have to go back and watch the movie again Nick Hornby writes about losers and makes them lovable But not this time I couldn t stand the self pitying little git, his loser wanker record store buddies, nor their ridiculous fracking lists Reading this book felt like being trapped in an elevator with the pathetic Scrubs douchebag Zachy McWhinerson, or whatever his fracking name is for an entire weekend You know the type the constant puppy need for the approval of every critter on the planet, all the time It might seem like a charming vulnerability, but don t be fooled It actually signals a pathological narcissist whose solipsism and incessant neediness will bleed you dry.I know, I know Many fine books have been written about unlikable characters Anyway, it s about the character s emotional growth Etc etc All true But when you find the central character so annoying that just reading about him makes you twitch, it s probably time to switch to another book.Your mileage may vary For all I know, you re the kind of person who watches marathon scrubs reruns If so, you ll probably love this book. We all have a handful of books that we feel were written specifically for us, as if the author took us out for dinner and drinks lots of drinks, on the author s tab and interviewed us on the important things in no particular order, except the order in which I thought of these love, faith, art, sex, career, family, friends Then they put our thoughts and feelings in a book High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of those books for me, the account of a young man reorganizing his disappointments and his record collection following a rough break up I m not the narrator and he s not me, but often wish life could be cataloged as clearly as my music.Published in 1995, Hornby s debut novel is the stoic, immature and unapologetic first person account of Rob Fleming, a thirty five year old who lives in a one bedroom flat in the North London neighborhood of Crouch End Rob owns a record shop called Championship Vinyl which specializes inpunk, blues, soul, and RB, a bit of ska, some indie stuff, some 60s pop everything for the serious record collectorHis two employees and perhaps best friends the shy, awkward Dick and the loud, obnoxious Barry pass the work day thinking and talking in lists top five Dustin Hoffman films, top five Gerry and Sylvia Anderson shows, top five sweets that come in jars, etc.For us readers only, Rob categorizes his all time, top five most memorable split ups He was 12 or 13 when Alison Ashworth ended their six hour courtship for another boy The following year, he broke off a three month relationship with Penny Hardwick, a nice girl who rebuffed Rob s hormonal advances and as soon as he dumped her, devastated him by having sex with one of Rob s classmates He was 17 when he pried away Jackie Allen from her perfect relationship for three weeks The one he never got over was Charlie Nicholson, a college lover of two years whose beauty and airs intimidated him until she ended things Rob found a kindred spirit at age 25 named Sarah Kendrew and stayed with her for two years out of loneliness until she met someone The decision of his girlfriend Laura Lydon to move out doesn t make the list, apparently Laura was, is, a lawyer, although when I met her she was a different kind of lawyer from the one she is now then, she worked for a legal aid firm hence, I guess, the clubbing and the black leather motorcycle jacket Now, she works for a City law firm hence, I guess, the restaurants and expensive suits and the disappearance of the spiky haircut and a previously unrevealed taste for weary sarcasm not because she underwent any kind of political conversion, but because she was made redundant and couldn t find any legal aid work She had to take a job that paid about forty five grand a year because she couldn t find one that paid under twenty she said this was all you need to know about Thatcherism, and I suppose she had a point She changed when she got the new job She was always intense, but, before, the intensity had somewhere to go she could worry about tenants rights, and slum landlords, and kids living in places without running water Now she s just intense about workhow much she has, the pressure she s under, how she s doing, what the partners think of her, that kind of stuff And when she s not being intense about work, she s being intense about why she shouldn t be intense about work, or this kind of work, anyway.Newly single, Rob throws himself into a reorganization of his record collection switching from alphabetical to autobiographical, filing his one thousand album collection in the order he purchased them in Dick and Barry drag him to a club to hear an American folk singer named Marie LaSalle, as lost and single in London as Rob is in his own neighborhood Rob develops a crush on Marie that goes unrequited only so long He touches base with Liz, a mutual friend of Laura s, and learns that his ex has moved in with Ian, their obnoxious former neighbor In her talks with Laura, though, Liz has learned things about Rob that places him firmly in the arsehole category I do not know what, precisely, Laura said, but she would have revealed at least two, maybe even all four, of the following pieces of information 1 That I slept with somebody else while she was pregnant.2 That my affair contributed directly to her terminating the pregnancy.3 That, after the abortion, I borrowed a large sum of money from her and have not yet repaid any of it.4 That, shortly before she left, I told her I was unhappy in the relationship, and I was kind of sort of maybe looking around for someone else.Did I do and say these things Yes, I did Are there any mitigating circumstances Not really, unless any circumstantial in other words, context can be regarded as mitigating And before you judge, although you have probably already done so, go away and write down the worst four things you have done to your partner, even if especially if your partner doesn t know about them Don t dress these things up, or try to explain them just write them down, in a list, in the plainest language possible Finished OK, so who s the arsehole now Rob s lists help him through his breakup with Laura in one way, at least He endeavors to contact each of his all time top five most memorable split ups to find closure Maybe people can change Dick stuns everyone by meeting an adorable young woman named Anna Moss, while Barry s musical delusions are answered when his seeking work ad is finally answered and he becomes the front man of Sonic Death Monkey n e Barrytown Distraught when he pesters Laura into admitting that she s had sex with Ian, Rob ends up on the invitation list for her father s funeral Reconciliation seems likely, but the common denominator in all Rob s failures is still staring at him 2 Seventh day, bed, afterward You really don t expect me to tell you Why not Because what purpose would it serve I could describe every second of every time, and there weren t that many of them, and you d be hurt, but you still wouldn t understand the first thing about anything that mattered I don t care I just want to know Want to know what What it was like She huffs It was like sex What else could it be like Even this answer I find hurtful I had hoped it wouldn t be like sex at all I had hoped that it would be like something much boring or unpleasant, instead Was it like good sex or was it like bad sex What s the difference You know the difference I never asked you how your extracurricular activities went Yes, you did I remember Have a nice time, dear It was a rhetorical question Look, we re OK now We ve just had a nice time Let s leave it at that OK, OK But the nice time we ve just had was it nicer, as nice, or less nice than the nice times you were having a couple of weeks ago She doesn t say anything.Rob Fleming is not the ideal man you d want to take a phone call from, hang out with and best of luck if you fell in love with him But he is a real person and someone I know well I d like to think Rob is the sort of non alcoholic, non druggie, smart, witty and immature male in his mid twenties to mid thirties, keeping my options open, terrified of commitment and embittered of opportunities that always seem to present themselves to other people, but in reality, his self obsession occurs across age and even across gender The chief reason to read the novel is Nick Hornby s exceedingly good taste in records, books and films and his wonderful ear for dialogue and monologue But I want to see Clara, Charlie s friend, who s right up my street I want to see her because I don t know where my street is I don t even know what part of town it s in, which city,which country,so maybe she ll enable me to get my bearings And it ll be interesting, too, to see what street Charlie thinks I live on, whether it s the Old Kent Road or Park Lane Five women who don t live on my street, as far as I know, but would be very welcome if they ever decided to move into my area the Holly Hunter of Broadcast Newsthe Meg Ryan of Sleepless In Seattlea woman doctor I saw on the telly once, who had lots of long frizzy hair and carved up a Tory MP in a debate about embryos, although I don t know her name and I ve never been able to find a pinup of her Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia StoryValerie Harper in TV series RhodaThese are women who talk back, women with a mind of their own, women with snap and crackle and pop but they are also women who seem to need the love of a good man I could rescue them I could redeem them They could make me laugh, and I could make them laugh, maybe, on a good day, and we could stay in and watch one of their films or TV programs or embryo debates on video and adopt disadvantaged children together and the whole family could play soccer in Central Park This paragraph is nearly verbatim from my dinner interview with the author It s my thesis that the majority of authors are married or have been with their current partners for over ten years I d add that a lot of authors regardless of status are simply not comfortable with being brutally honest about dating Nick Hornby is and so is High Fidelity, which is honest, tough, funny, sensitive Adapted to film in 2000, the screenplay by D.V DeVincentis Steve Pink John Cusack relocated the story to Chicago but kept much of Hornby s dialogue intact Though one of my favorite comedies, the romance is really between Rob John Cusack and Barry Jack Black , not Rob and Laura Iben Hjejle The music and supporting cast Todd Louiso as Dick, Joan Cusack as Liz, Lisa Bonet as Marie LaSalle, Tim Robbins as Ian, Catherine Zeta Jones as Charlie, Lili Taylor as Sarah and Bruce Springsteen as himself are peerless. Do You Know Your Desert Island, All Time, Top Five Most Memorable Split Ups Rob Does He Keeps A List, In Fact But Laura Isn T On It Even Though She S Just Become His Latest Ex He S Got His Life Back, You See He Can Just Do What He Wants When He Wants Like Listen To Whatever Music He Likes, Look Up The Girls That Are On His List, And Generally Behaves As If Laura Never Mattered But Rob Finds He Can T Move On He S Stuck In A Really Deep Groove And It S Called Laura Soon, He S Asking Himself Some Big Questions About Love, About Life And About Why We Choose To Share Ours With The People We Do High Fidelity is several things at once.It is a specimen of guylit I just invented the term yes romance and single life explained from the point of view of a man And we have so few of those It is a humorous reflection on life and its many failings.And lastly, it is the tale of a Brit singleton in his mid thirties who is unrelentingly firm in his reluctance to grow into a man.A man who is so caught up in his fantasies of the ultimate love one is destined to end up with, that he ignores the woman who truly cares for him and consequently ends up losing her.So the novel begins with our protagonist, Rob Fleming, listing the 5 major break ups of his life which either hurt him too much or ended up changing him as a person for good And he takes vicious pleasure in informing the reader that Laura, the woman who just left him, doesn t make the top 5, doesn t even come close.How could you not get sucked into a book which begins on such a promising note An owner of a dingy vinyl record shop named Championship Vinyl, Rob and his two employee cum sidekicks Dick and Barry stumble through the maze of life, often than not clueless about what they are doing.They debate merits and demerits of obscure bands and music artists and are generous in their display of disdain for the ones who love their Beatles, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Elton John and the usuals And these hilarious conversations centering around mundane things like tv shows, movies, music and women lend the plot much of its frivolity and humour Especially Barry, who is described by Rob as asnob obscurantist , makes you laugh uncontrollably with his habit of belittling everything, his sneaky tactics of selling records of artists no one has heard of and his interactions with Dick.And so the plot meanders through the zigzagging life of Rob, touches briefly upon the lives of all the women with whom he had been in love at some point of time and settles on his on and off relationship with Laura High Fidelity comes as close to portraying single life and romance as it actually is and not in the larger than life Hollywood rom comish way It talks about the things we all do in relationships how we decide how much to reveal to the other person How our feelings for a person waver time and again and how we often falter, unable to decide what we want How we hurt the other person in the process How we realize how precious a relationship was only after it has ended And importantly how we are ever afraid of making that feared transformation be it from girl to woman or boy to man.Nick Hornby s debut novel is a charming creation it is like a music record by an artist you may not have heard of but you can relate to the music, nonetheless And you can t help but want to play the record all over again. Top Five Reasons to Read This Book 1 Offers multiple opportunities to fall off your chair laughing.2 Draws entirely convincing characters making stupid decisions and dealing with the repercussions.3 Reminds you of all sorts of artists you must check out further.4 Answers the what if questions of past relationships with horrifying clarity.5 Satirizes but ultimately validates top five lists. Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC s Big Read Poll of 2003I used to think and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you ve got It could be something completely different, it could be something roughly the same, but gentler and calmer, or it could be nothing at all I feel like this book was written as a direct response to Bridget Jones s Diary, though I don t know that for sure and I m too lazy to check the dates In any case, it is surely a response to all the Chick Lit that at the time, and even now abounds And at first I was thinking, hey, this is just Bridget Jones s Diary but with a Penis , but it isn t It is exactly the same.The same whingeing The same horribleness toward people the protagonists want to have sex with The same horribleness toward the people the protagonists have had sex with The horribleness toward the protagonist s so called friends The same self serving ridiculousness and not wanting anyone else to be happy because they re not happy The same whingeing, the same arrogance, the same patheticness Maybe you could say that Bridget Jones s Diary is this but with a Vagina but then all the whingeing is fine because having stuff coming out of your vagina once a month that isn t just always blood is really, super annoying, though I can t recall Bridget ever whingeing about Vagina blood at all Is that the point of these books To take pathetic people and give them the spotlight because, deep down, that s all of us And we never have our voices heard, despite getting drunk every night and shouting our problems out to the night Are you really like these characters If you are you should be deeply ashamed and I m glad you re stuck in a dead end job and not actually in charge of anything Stay there, keep your head down, procreate because you don t understand the menstrual cycle or contraception and then die Please.I can t work out if the protagonist whatever his name is, I ve forgotten already is supposed to be horrible, pathetic, whingeing, annoying, perverse in short, a complete cunt or not is this the anti hero kind of thing Where we like him because, oh, he s a bit not normal whatever that is Bridget was a cunt, too I hated them both Is this what people are actually like What s wrong with people This isn t Lad Lit, or Dick Lit, or whatever manly spin we have on Chick Lit this week it s just Chick Lit It hasn t even got a Penis, and Chick Lit doesn t have a Vagina It s just people being cunts With no reference to whatever you think cunt actually means or the etymology of the word cunt , anglo saxon or Norse or whatever Just the metaphorical sense of a person being a cunt You know what I mean.By the way, I ve realised that Love doesn t exist, it s just Fear of being Alone or it is if you read books like this I had so many interesting points to make about this book and it was all going to sound like I d thought long and hard about it, and was making fantastic points and really making you think, and going in to how Love is a construct, and Fear is also a construct so is Love really as unreal as Fear etc but I can t be bothered I really can t Why do men have to read this and not read Bridget Jones s DiaryIt s exactly the same thing.Blog Reviews Instagram Twitter This is the only Nick Hornby book I ve read, and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre I imagine must be called dick lit I read it on a plane to the West Coast, and it was the perfect thing started at take off, finished just before landing, this had the perfect proportions of light and engaging for 30,000 feet Ultimately, I found it sort of silly and empty and I had a hard time choosing between two and three stars, but I thought I d give it a break here, because even though it wasn t funny like B Jones, it was a lot culturally accessible I don t remember what kind of music Ms J liked, but I ll bet it was bad.After all, it s only dick lit, and it served its purpose, which was to preoccupy me while I suffered through the torturous experience of flying in an airplane I sort of liked the formula, and the idea that the boy version of fairytale romance isn t meeting Miss Right and riding away together on a handsome stallion, but instead just finally scraping your shit together enough to act a little bit like a grownup in time to avoid permanently alienating the charming girl who s fed up with your tiresome immaturity Is that the standard male fantasy Weird. Rob runs a record store in London, has two weird sidekicks, creates silly top five lists of everything and his girlfriend Laura has just finished with him What could I say about him Well, Rob is thirty five selfish asshole, pompous snob and a pathetic, emotionally immature loser But I still like him And who is immature now, huh Do not worry, I will not treat you now with a tearful story about my ex, though I will tell you about a guy who, if I ever had compiled, in imitation of Rob, list of the most memorable and painful partings in my life, would have taken not only the first place Actually he would take the whole podium Piotr, do not let him remain nameless, after all the winner takes it all, so, Piotr was nice and sensitive guy, somehow wonderfully shy and helpless He was a guy because of whom when we split upI lost the plot for a while then And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, my popcorn the credits, and the exit signWell, he was a selfish asshole and pathetic loser Who said that Oh, shut up My older and cynical self, I m not in the mood to listen to you today We were wandering around the streets, by whole hours listening to the music, discussing books Nothing specialAnd Heaven knows I m miserably now in my lifeI do not remember if Piotr loved The Smiths, certainly we listened to The Clash, jazz, a bit of blues Piotr run a record store but nowadays works on the radio, sometimes I come across on his programme and it s always nice to hear his voice Oddly enough, I never thought then he had a radio voice And really he had.But let s get back to Rob Hornby created a bitter sweet, ironic portrait of lonely and scared man Rob is a guy with simple solution for everything, with justification for any situation He is like a kid who believes that life is a movie in which all the others play supporting roles But because life is neither pop charts nor listeners choice you seldom get what you think you deserve Hornby s observations are accurate and witty, spiced with wry humour, and even when Rob feels miserable and has a hard time this is not any existential drama And when he finally states that even people with, in his opinion, trashy collection of records, are ok, there is a hope for him yet.