Nick Hornby: High Fidelity

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Common denominator in all Rob s failures is still staring at him 2 Seventh day bed afterwardYou really don t expect me to tell youWhy notBecause 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 nderstand the first thing about anything that matteredI don t care I just want to knowWant to know whatWhat it was likeShe huffs It was like sex What else could it be likeEven 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 A Full House unpleasant insteadWas it like good sex or was it like bad sexWhat s the differenceYou know the differenceI never asked you how your extracurricular activities wentYes you did I remember Have a nice time dear It was a rhetoricalestion Look we re OK now We ve just had a nice time Let s leave it at thatOK 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 agoShe doesn t say anythingRob 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 O Homem Que Ela Ama Odiar Diamante Bruto 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 News the Meg Ryan of Sleepless In Seattle a woman doctor I saw on the telly once who had lots of long frizzy hair and carvedp 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 Story Valerie Harper in TV series Rhoda These 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 ParkThis 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 DV 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 I still don t know why I rated High Fidelity 5 stars Most of these books don t stand a chance against an early Agatha Christie or a modern cozy or a book by Dawkins but I put all of them on the same levelI m going to watch the movie first time later this day Most books that have first person view make it hell for me to get into Not here Reading this book was like meeting an old friendI don t know what Nick Hornby has gone through to piece together this ode It feels real It s real art It s one of the best books I ve read ever I am far far from being the neurotic Rob but this bitter ending A Stormy Greek Marriage upset me in a good way I recommend this By the way I too like the Beatles a lot I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating So sue meBook buying isn t you know aick thing for me I browse I choose I read the blurbs inside I deliberate I read a chapter from ever book I ve chosenIn short I only read things I m really likely to likeSo I will tell you right now if there were a way to give High Fidelity six stars I wouldOstensibly it s a novel about pop music and love But if that s what you re seeing then you are reading it wrongIt 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 beingHis 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 The Midwifes Glass Slipper / Best for the Baby 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 aroundEvery word in High Fidelity felt familiar even with a location London and a milieu music fandom that arenfamiliar to me Somehow Hornby strikes this strange compelling balance between being incredibly witty on the surface and being incredibly depressing beneathSwap 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. Ffbeat clerks at his store who endlessly review their top five films Reservoir Dogs; top five Elvis Costello songs Alison; top five episodes of Cheers the one where Woody sang his stupid song to Kelly Rob tries dating a singer whose rendition of Baby I Love Your Way makes him cry But maybe

Top Five Reasons to Read This Book1 Offers multiple opportunities to fall off your chair laughing2 Draws entirely convincing characters making stupid decisions and dealing with the repercussions3 Reminds you of all sorts of artists you must check out further4 Answers the what if A Natural Father uestions of past relationships with horrifying clarity5 Satirizes butltimately validates top five lists High Fidelity is several things at onceIt 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 We all have a handful of books that we feel were written specifically for A Doctors Vow us as if the author tooks out for dinner and drinks lots of drinks on the author s tab and interviewed Jonathan Swift 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 breakp I m not the narrator and he s not me but often wish life could be cataloged as clearly as my musicPublished in 1995 Hornby s debut novel is the stoic immature and Shotgun Bride 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 in punk blues soul and RB a bit of ska some indie stuff some 60s pop everything for the serious record collector His 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 etcFors readers only Rob categorizes his all time top five most memorable split ps 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 ntil she ended things Rob found a kindred spirit at age 25 named Sarah Kendrew and stayed with her for two years out of loneliness ntil 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 nrevealed taste for weary sarcasm not because she The Greek Tycoons Revenge 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 paidnder 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 work how much she has the pressure she s nder 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 anywayNewly 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 nreuited 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 information1 That I slept with somebody else while she was pregnant2 That my affair contributed directly to her terminating the pregnancy3 That after the abortion I borrowed a large sum of money from her and have not yet repaid any of it4 That shortly before she left I told her I was The Queens Choice unhappy in the relationship and I was kind of sort of maybe looking around for someone elseDid I do and say these things Yes I did Are there any mitigating circumstances Not reallynless 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 The Cowboy Wants a Wife! 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 nowRob 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 splitps 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 To Defy a Sheikh up on the invitation list for her father s funeral Reconciliation seems likely but the. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi failing record store His girlfriend Laura has just left him for the guypstairs 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

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Then you are Rob too High Fidelity Nick HornbyHigh Fidelity is a novel by British author Nick Hornby first published in 1995 Rob Fleming is a London record shop owner in his mid thirties whose girlfriend Laura has just left him At his record shop called Championship Vinyl Rob and his employees Dick and Barry spend their free moments discussing mix tape aesthetics and constructing desert island top five lists of anything that demonstrates their knowledge of music Rob recalling his five most memorable breakups sets about getting in touch with the former girlfriends Eventually Rob s re examination of his failed relationships and the death of Laura s father bring the two back together Their relationship is 2019 1397 356 9786008812883 20 1995 08051399 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 itIn 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 The Highlander and the Wolf Princess (Legend of the Faol, 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 lifeI Every once in a while a writer will strike literary gold with a character whose popularity reaches iconic levels I can think of a few offhand Mary Poppins Forrest Gump Pippi Longstocking We ve all encountered these iconic characters before some are distinctly regional others manage worldwide fame even a remote tribe in the rainforest would probably recognize Audrey Hepburn in her famous guise of Holly GolightlyBut I don t know if I ve ever encountered before what I discovered here in High Fidelity a writer who created a character who went on to become a proper nounA Rob A Rob is a man who has a job but not a careerA Rob is a playful passionate man which lends him an irresistible charmA Rob is great for a snog as he has nothing but time on his handsA Rob is terrified of commitmentA Rob is someone you shouldn t make babies withEver dated a RobI have I ve dated three They re so damned adorable and they re so damned attractive in their rugby shirtsntil you realize by the third date that it s the only shirt they ownI once pulled Whiteout (Threes Allowed, up for a date with a Rob because naturally he didn t have his own car and he was sitting on the hood of a friend s car in a rugby shirt and sweat pants his right forearm down to the elbow in a Jumbo size bag of Doritos As I stopped my car my headlights shonepon his visage and he smiled a cheesy Cheshire grin God bless him he was so happy to see me but when he licked his orange fingertips as he walked over to my car I will admit here publicly that I pressed on the accelerator and drove off gently into that good night That was Rob 1A Rob will sometimes call you for as long as 10 years after your break The Princes Ultimate Deception (Monte Carlo Affairs, upA Rob will always love you after you ve left himA Rob will often entice you back for a snog at least one time after you ve officially declared you re done with him Sometimes twice dependingpon the RobA Rob can break your heart with their fear of everything Including youTo all Robs everywhere this one goes out to you He s a real nowhere manSitting in his nowhere landMaking all his nowhere plans for nobody 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 dryI know I know Many fine books have been written about Breaking the Governesss Rules 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 bookYour 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 I have a problemYou see when it comes to reviewing my favorite books I m all thumbs Coherent thoughts elude me and float downstream like a toy boat escaping from a little boy s graspRob is my soul mate you see He and I are the same fuckedp insecure too much in our own head for our own good person I think he would get me Really Get me Or maybe it s just Hornby who gets me Mr Hornby you make me want to wear dressesDuring my last year of high school and through all four years of college I too worked in a record store with a bunch of misfit music snobs It was the BEST JOB EVER Hands down Sitting around all day listening to the new batch of promos poking fun at the customers coming in looking for a little Ace of Base making mix tapes for that boy who worked in the skate shop who I had a crush on I never gave him any of them Shyness is nice but shyness can stop you That s Morrissey not me But I feel you fellaAnyway you can see how I m completely flubbing this review right Hornby has my number My favorite ice breaker with people I don t know well is to ask them to give me their top 5 insert topic here sually related to music Top 5 female singers of all time GOOh and since this review wouldn t be complete without a top 5 list of my own here is my list of the top 5 songs referenced in top 5 lists in this novel obscure enough for you1 Tired of Being Alone Alison Lets Get it On Mr Big Stuff The House That Jack Buil. T's just that he's always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract Then he sees Laura again And Rob begins to think awful as it sounds that life as an episode of thirtysomething with all the kids and marriages and barbecues and kd lang CD's that this implies might not be so bad.

Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down Slam How to Be Good High Fidelity and About a Boy and the memoir Fever Pitch He is also the author of Songbook a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award Shakespeare Wrote for Money and The Polysyllabic Spree as well as the editor of the short story collection Speaking with the Angel He is a recipient of the American Acade