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High Fidelity [Paperback]

Nick Hornby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 May 2005
Nick Hornby's first novel, an international bestseller and instantly recognized by critics and readers alike as a classic, helps to explain men to women, and men to men. Rob is good on music: he owns a small record shop and has strong views on what's decent and what isn't. But he's much less good on relationships. In fact, he's not at all sure that he wants to commit himself to anyone. So it's hardly surprising that his girlfriend decides that enough is enough.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140293469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141026640
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits,The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.

Product Description

Amazon Review

It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This hilarious novel is obsessed with music; Hornby's narrator is an early thirtysomething bloke who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way--on vinyl--and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically to adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music. --Christine Buttery


If this book was a record, we would be calling it an instant classic. Because that is what it is (Guardian )

It will give enormous pleasure at the same time as expanding, in a small but worthwhile way, the range of English literature (Independent on Sunday )

Leaves you believing not only in the redemptive power of music but above all the redemptive power of love. Funny and wise, sweet and true (Independent )

A triumphant first novel. True to life, very funny, and moving (Financial Times )

Very funny and extremely cleverly observed (Mail on Sunday )

Funny and compulsive (GQ ) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Close-Reading of the Self, Sparkling With Wit 23 Dec 1999
By oh_pete
Nick Hornby's HIGH FIDELITY opens with a list that most teenage males and men have made variations of in their own lives: their five most memorable break-ups. Before we even know where this list is going to lead, we know protagonist Rob Fleming is going to be a guy after many of our hearts. He is the kind of guy that pays extremely close attention to his relationships with women, is always looking for that "perfect" girlfriend (in the sense of perfect for him), and if pressed just a bit, could readily produce the names of every girl that ever deigned to kiss him romantically on the lips. Not that this is a good thing, but it's just something we can do, kind of like being able to rattle off the last ten NCAA basketball champions. Self-obsessed? Sure. Identifiable? Like the sun in the sky.
Rob is a 35-year-old North London record shop owner who never recovered from the toughest of those five break-ups--the one that stunned him right out of college. He knows his chosen musical genres obsessively, but no longer quite as obsessively as his employees, the overbearing Barry and timid Dick. The shop and his music, however, seem to make up Rob's whole world, and he is not comfortable outside them. Nor is he happy with himself outside of a monogamous relationship. So why (consciously or not) does he always sabotage them? Following Rob as he seeks the answer to this question can be hilarious and sad and rejuvenating.
Hornby's prose is consistently keen of wit and often raucously funny. Because there's just so much literature out there I want to experience, I almost never re-read books. I read HIGH FIDELITY twice in six weeks--Nick Hornby taught me how silly I was.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Pick up a copy? -- Here's why: 12 Nov 2006
By Kilian
Someone else mentioned that the first 32 pages alone were worth the price of the book -- and that reviewer is correct! This novel starts off beautifully: the tone of the narrator is wounded, possibly because he's reeling and in shock from the recent departure of his girlfriend, Laura. What we have is the narrator trying to come to grips with the situation, tabulate how truly hurt he is, weighing this "dumping" to former dumpings by past girlfriends, starting from the first girl he ever kissed.

I just love the tone; the guy is really hurting (and we've all been there). It's this tone I think that gives such clarity to his confessional. Anyway, following this "resume of relationship trauma," we follow as the narrator goes on to deal with his life and disappointments. As a record shop owner, he's considered an "underachiever," a loser by some. His ex is a lawyer, hence the dilemma. (The double standard is that a man can be a lawyer and have a girlfriend with a simple job and everything's fine; BUT if the woman partner is the lawyer -- then HE should at least be equally as "successful"?! Well, this smacks of reality. In the eyes of society, he needs to "grow up." Many of us reading it will feel differently, perhaps.) This book is really an accurate portrayal of the male psyche, and it delves into many of the anxieties and fears that men suffer. But Hornby knows how to mix humor with the moments of soul-searching, so it doesn't become a drag. In the end, this book is really a great romantic comedy. Certainly, one of the most honest, insightful, and funniest accounts of guy/gal relationships I've come across since reading The Losers Club by Richard Perez. Definitely don't hesitate to pick up a copy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book was recommended to me by my fiance because it thought it would help me understand him, and I have to admit, it opened a window to the actions of some men through the eyes of the narative character, Rob, that I can relate to having witnessed, as I found myself comparing the book with reality to find similarities that were laughable to think about. To start, the self-pitying Rob takes a look his misfortunes with women from as early back as his school days, even as a member of the opposite sex, I felt able to relate to his experiences because everyone, myself included, will have at some point been like him, or known someone like him. As the book progresses, his actions in the present day also seem familiar as I can imagine his some-what cynical, and unintentionally comical presentation of events happenening to people I know. For example, when he realises that women are just like men because they too keep their 'best pants' for when they're going out first time with a bloke, but move in together and the 'faded M&S specials start appearing on the radiator'.
I would recommend this book to anyone, as it offers men a chance to realise that they are not alone in their suffering of the female of the species, and women a chance to relate to and appreciate the more vulnerable of males, and perhaps even understand them? (or attempt to feel sorry for them)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top five!! 23 Mar 2012
Over the years I have bought about half a dozen copies of "High Fidelity" and given them all away to friends with the exhortation to "...read this, it's just wonderful"! Sadly none of my friends ever seem to find the same sense of unadulterated joy in Hornby's prose as I do.

My current copy came from a charity shop and has a small sticker on the back saying "50p - Good", obviously intended as a comment on the physical condition of the book, but which I mistakenly took to be a critical review. I still recall my embarrassment on marching to the desk demanding to know why it didn't say "excellent"!

The blurb inside the front cover starts with a quote from the Guardian: "The most frequent response to High Fidelity is `Oh God, I know people just like that'..." Well it's true; I do - me. Whenever I re-read the novel, which has been every couple of years, I find myself wincing with painful self-recognition. Right down to the obsessive list making (each new diary of mine used to start with a list of my top ten albums, novels and movies so that I could compare the lists back to previous years).

Hornby is such an astute writer, with a real gift for comedy. If you regard "Fever Pitch" as a memoir then amazingly "High Fidelity" is his debut novel and it is astonishing. I know all the jokes yet still find myself reading with an inane grin on my face, when I'm not laughing uncontrollably - not a book to read on a quiet train. In Rob Fleming he has created a totally believable and fatally flawed human being, and I still find myself rooting for him from the bottom of my heart.

Hornby's authorial voice is conversational with an immediacy that makes you feel as though he had written a confessional just for you alone. His dialogue is an object lesson in authenticity for any aspiring writer; effortlessly fluent and compulsively readable. It certainly makes its way into my list of my top five favourite novels, year on year.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book you will read
This book is so funny, I was literally crying with laughter, I couldn't help read out bits to random people!
Published 3 months ago by Pixel
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read
There's something really good about the WAY this book is written. I'm not even that interested in the subject matter but I don't care because this book is seriously, seriously... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A human
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Read this book for university and honestly wish I had discovered it sooner.
Engaging and relatable. Hard to put down
Published 5 months ago by Jenny Barker
3.0 out of 5 stars don't think it was meant for me
Recommended by a friend saying I got hooked up on some silly idea. I read it till the end just because I don't like unfinished business. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ola P
4.0 out of 5 stars Infidelity
High Fidelity was semi-entertaining all the way through; the prose was humorous without trying too hard (same goes for the dialogue); and the plot--not that there is much of a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by George Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love music and good writing then read this book!
I love it! It's a jewel. It's the book that made me fall in love with Nick Hornby as an author!
Published 6 months ago by Faffy1980
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Yeah, like I said. Good book. You'll probably like it. It's not too long either. And it mentions some good records.
Published 6 months ago by MR R ALI
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine
This was quite anguished but it did have some good observations. Not my favourite of Nick Hornby's books I'm afraid
Published 6 months ago by Tessie
3.0 out of 5 stars High(ish) Fidelity
I should begin by pointing out that I'm not a huge fan of relationship-centric books, with the odd notable exception (Pride and Prejudice, The Time Traveller's Wife). Read more
Published 7 months ago by Y. Mcgillicuddy
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Good old Nick Hornby.
Highly enjoyable, a real page turner.
A modern British classic in every way. Read me now!
Published 8 months ago by C. Woodhead
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Another superb read 0 11 Jan 2009
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