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Paperback High Fidelity: A Novel Book

ISBN: 1594481784

ISBN13: 9781594481789

High Fidelity: A Novel

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Book Overview

Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films (Reservoir Dogs...); top five Elvis Costello songs ("Alison"...); top five episodes...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Top 5 reasons to read this book:

1. It is very original; 2. Biting wit and numerous laugh out loud moments; 3. Several pop music and movie references; 4. Startlingly accurate depictions of male post-breakup pathos; 5. Numerous London colloquialisms let us know how they live and speak in England.I absolutely loved this novel. It was witty, exploring with a keen eye relationships and the reasons why men and women get together, and sometimes drift apart. Narrator Rob is a self-indulgent whiner who tries to make himself feel better after getting dumped by making lists to himself of "top 5 breakups", as well as lists of "top 5 breakup songs". He does something many of us 30-something men often think of doing, namely contact old flames out of an odd, morbid curiosity as to their whereabouts and marital status. While Rob and his incessant ruminations on his past and present love life can sometimes get old, Hornby deftly changes gears whenever a change is needed and involves numerous excellent secondary characters, including record store employees and comrades-in-arms Dick and Barry (played amazingly well by Jack Black in the recent movie) as well as a folkie American female musician living in London. The scenes in Rob's second hand record store are priceless, as well as some memorable episodes in North London's pubs where Rob and the boys hoist a pint or two while they argue meaningless musical debates. It is difficult to categorize the novel, but I can simply say that as a male of approximately the same age as the protagonist, it appeared Hornby (and Rob) were talking my language (albeit with a British flair), and I therefore breezed through this book quicker than most. You need not be male and over 30 to enjoy it, but reading it will reveal some of our secrets and obsessions. Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

Sorry, Boys, the Secret's Out

If you're a woman looking for insight into a man's mind that isn't some stupid Cosmo magazine thing, you have two great options right now: Hornby's High Fidelity and Brauner's Love Songs of the Tone-Deaf. If you're a man, you should read them too, because you'll completely identify (my boyfriend did). Both books are dead-on hilarious portayals of the way slacker generation guys think, and both are my favorite books of the last three years -- intelligent, well-written, funny novels that confirm your best hopes about literature.

It'll end up in your & "reread every couple of years" pile

Nick's one of the best, most sneaky writers I know. Well, I don't actually know him, but I know a friend who...okay, I don't actually know anyone who knows him, but he signed my presentation copy of High Fidelity. So, okay, it's actually the library's copy, but he's definitely on my top-ten, all-time best writers list of the nineties... Nick Hornby writes romances. Sure, they're guy romances, which means there's a lot of duck and cover, much waffling, and many reorganizations of CD collections. But the bed-swapping is desultry and the typical masculine evasions are half-hearted, because Hornby's men are all in their mid-thirties and are beginning to experience the nagging heebie-jeebies, a sort of group angst. What if, they think, to paraphrase Gregory Corso, what if I'm sixty years old and all alone, with pee-stains on my underwear? What if I'm merely ordinary? What if I'm not...special? What if I'm going to die? Nick Hornby's men have virtually no moorings. They simply await the opinion of others. They're like helium balloons, their strings digging annoyingly into the palms of the women and children who stubbornly hold onto them. Inevitably, these people want to let them go. And when they do, Hornby's antiheroes are terrified--of dissipation, of annihilation, of being alone. Without the defining weight of family, these men suspect they'd be merely ciphers. They'd be right, but they'd also be wrong, and this is what makes Hornby's books so quietly beautiful. Rob Flemming doesn't have a life, he has a list. He's the spectator on the sidelines, keeping his options open, scorecard in hand, calculating up averages. The results are mixed: he can quote you the entire Stax catalogue, but he can't really tell you why Laura, his lover, is moving out. True, yes, there was that affair and a baby and an abortion, but...but.... Well, Rob suspects he's really a nasty wretch of a slimeball, and to prove it to himself, he begins revisiting all the disasterous lost-loves of his Pre-Laura days (in chronological order, of course). He has a half-hearted affair with a real recording artist, and suitably thrilled to discover HER ex is a well-known American musician ("Steve";, but he's not going to name-drop). Not a lot happens in a Hornby book, but the flow is so effortless, so peppered with trenchant growthfulness, so well written and sardonic, and so damn funny, that you don't much care. This is partly due to Nick Hornby's talent for dialogue, which he writes with the same flawless ear as fellow Britons Nina Bowden and Barbara Pym. At one point in the book, when Laura is haranguing Rob on his failings, she says, "You just don't do anything. You get lost in your head, and you sit around thinking instead of just getting on with something, and most of the time you think rubbish. You always seem to miss what's really happening." To which he replies, "This is the second Simply Red song on


Did you have a favorite blanket when you were little? Get ready to meet your new one, now that you're older. This book gave me more pleasure last year when I read it than that much beloved piece of flannel ever did, and I dragged Nick Hornby's pseudomemoir around with me long after I finished reading it, in the sense that I tried to FORCE everyone else I knew, even slightly, to read it. Why? Like Rob, the protagonist, I am not exactly sure about "stuff". However, at least he is honest, and, incredibly funny about the mess he is making about his life. In other words, he is so very, totally, hopelessly HUMAN.I didn't particularly care about the fact that the author is male and I, the reader, am female. I think this is not the point of this book. Rather, this book is about the struggles we all have, doing our best to face up to our fears, and the total screw ups we all make just living our lives when we finally take some sort of a stand about ANYTHING and make a choice. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Ha, ha, ha.Just read the first page and I guarantee you'll be hooked. By the time you are finished, you will be touched and you will want to touch the other people you know by sharing this terrific, funny, poignant, contempory bestseller with them.Can't wait to see the movie. If John Cusack doesn't do right by this, I'll be really surprised. Even though he is not British, like the author, Nick Hornby, he should be perfect. He's got the vulnerable yet intelligent maleness that makes you incapable of not loving High Fidelity's funny, goofy, always trying (well, kind of) Rob down to a T. Now go rearrange your record wishes, Jean

Wildly enjoyable; a hilarious dip in the pool of truth

I read this book twice -- once when I was single (loved it), and again while I was seven months pregnant, stranded with sciattica in my hotel room in Venice while my husband went sight-seeing. The hotel had a copy of HIGH FIDELITY in its small "lenders" library and I snatched it with huge relief. It was even better the second time. While bolts of pain shot down my left leg and my unborn son trounced merrily on my spine, I followed Hornby's tale of love, lust and ambiguity to its brilliant conclusion. Laughing out loud is difficult when you are third-trimester incontinent, but I managed. This is one of my favorite books -- wickedly funny, dead brutal, and absolutely uproarious in its twists. It is one of those rare books that can be equally enjoyed by both sexes -- Hornby is a riot, a writer's writer. I especially liked his use of music -- an added thread of interest to an already engrossing narrative. His characters are oddly real, compelling, a joy -- the dialogue crackles with life. I gasped more than once at his exhuberant style, his sure hand with the most delicate of subjects. If you read only one book this summer, make it HIGH FIDELITY. I would be dumbstruck if ABOUT A BOY were as startling, but I plan to give it a try. This man has it.

High Fidelity Mentions in Our Blog

High Fidelity in What's Your Shelf Style?
What's Your Shelf Style?
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 13, 2021

Lately we’ve been asking you to share photos of your books with us. Whether shelves or stacks or armfuls, there’s something so beautiful about seeing the way you display these treasured belongings. Here we discuss the important question of how we arrange our beloved books.

High Fidelity in 7 Books to Read Before They Hit the Screens
7 Books to Read Before They Hit the Screens
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 07, 2020

If you're anything like us, you make a point of reading the book before you see the movie. That's why we do our best to keep you abreast of the books that are being adapted to movies or TV shows. Check out our list of upcoming titles.

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