High Fidelity review  103

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High Fidelity review  103 ↠ Do you know your desert island all time top five most memorable split upsRob 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 anDo you know your desert island all time top five most memorable split upsRob 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. 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 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

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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. 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 musicPublished 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 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 etcFor 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 work how 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 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 unreuited 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 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 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 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 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 née 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 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 understand 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 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 rhetorical uestion 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 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 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 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

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High FidelityCan't move on He's stuck in a really deep groove and it's called Laura Soon he's asking himself some big uestions about love about life and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do. 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 so few of those It is a humorous reflection on life and its many failingsAnd lastly it is the tale of a Brit singleton in his mid thirties who is unrelentingly firm in his reluctance to grow into a manA 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 conseuently ends up losing herSo 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 closeHow could you not get sucked into a book which begins on such a promising noteAn 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 doingThey 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 a 'snob 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 DickAnd 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 manNick 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