High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

     High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
     Published October 4th 2005 by Riverhead Trade
     First published 1995
     More at:

     First Line: "My desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:
                                             1. Alison Ashworth
                                             2. Penny Hardwick
                                             3. Jackie Allen
                                             4. Charlie Nicholson
                                             5. Sarah Kendrew."

Being unceremoniously dumped isn't something new to Rob; women have been leaving him for years. His most recent, live in girlfriend Laura has just left him for the guy in the flat above him prompting a bout of self exploration and self pity that leads him to confront the women of his relationship past. What he discovers is not only is he a bit of a run of the mill, self absorbed commitment-phobe, he's also apparently a really unhappy, thirty something, wallower whose life didn't really turn out in any way like he expected.

What is possibly most horribly depressing is just how relevant Rob's story is. Rob runs a failing record shop that might go days on end without any buyers. All of his friends have moved on with their lives and Rob has found himself the victim of having very little personal human interaction outside of his relationships with women. A good long look at his past relationships, and his actions or rather inactions that have landed him in the state he's in have him firmly convinced that if his younger self could see him now, he'd probably dump him too. Rob has some very spot on insights into human nature, and how we act in relationships that could possibly make him likable if he'd get out of his own way. His problem was the same problem we all suffer from in that he could see and recognize these traits, he just couldn't apply them to his own life.

Rob and I didn't get on well at all. Quite possibly because Rob wouldn't get on with it. The entire book was riddled with Rob's own sense that he was living a rather meandering existence and yet even at the end I didn't get the feel that he was going to do anything else other than just flounder. I never witnessed any life changing affirmations or statements of intent to move on with his life. The events that could be construed as progress weren't even brought about by him, they were Laura's doing and he continued to be reliant on a relationship. Meh.

Excellent writing. Very witty, and Rob's brooding can be rather endearing if you can stomach all the poor me. I still prefer the movie because well...John Cusack.

Nick Hornby also wrote About A Boy, another movie I really enjoyed and I think I'll read it.

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