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High Fidelity [Paperback]

Nick Hornby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)

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High Fidelity High Fidelity 4.3 out of 5 stars (147)
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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 (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,721 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
7 of 7 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Hornby is my Hero! 21 July 2004
This book is so 'human', not muddled by all the pretensions of the commercial world. This book tells a story of, well, to be honest a rather sad man, it explains WHY men, (and women), can be the way they are. Be that neurotic and anally retentive about their record collection or something more serious. (IS there anything more serious??? The character in this book wouldn't think so!) High Fidelity is full of comedy, although occasionally a little dark, and is a fantastic read all the way! I finished this book begrudgingly, turning the last few pages slower and taking every word in like a slow deep breath - when you don't want it to end it must be a good! Highly recommended to those ladies who don't understand their boyfriends and would like to, and recommended to absolutely anybody else who like s a bit of truth in their books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 15 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was quite uncertain when I was deciding whether to buy High Fidelity, given that from the other reviews that I had read it was a book that had been either loved or hated by the reviewers. I took a chance as I loved the film, but usually the book holds much more and goes much deeper. I am so glad I took a chance with this book.
The first statement that I have to make is that it usually takes me a while to read through my books, I am just a naturally slow reader. Though with High Fidelity I read it from cover to cover in the space of a week. In terms of sheer enjoyment and accessibility, I would put High Fidelity as one of my top five books!
The story focuses around a thirty-something Londoner who I find to represent the male stereotype of the grown man living as a child - somebody who has yet to get over the emotional predilections of a sixteen-year-old. Rob is a character who has devoted his life to the study/criticism of music; perhaps accidentally he had grown to be somebody whose life has run into a dead-end. The story begins as he is dumped by his girlfriend, throwing an already bleak life into further disarray.
Throughout reading this I have found several sections where I have been able to relate to his paranoia and worries, things that all seem to have some bearing, however limited, on the modern man. Overall, this is a story that deals with the worries that many people can relate to - rejection, loss of motivation, isolation, as well as questioning what it is that really attracts us to each other. All of which is told through a highly humorous and casual medium which makes what could be construed as a heavy subject quite simple and easy to relate to.
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18 of 20 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Smashing
Thought provoking! In over ten years this is the only novel I have managed to read from start to finish.
Published 16 days ago by Jimaloz
5.0 out of 5 stars A great quick read
A great quick read. Humorous and surprisingly thought provoking in parts.
Published 17 days ago by sisoire
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 4 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 7 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 7 months ago by Tessie
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Another superb read 0 11 Jan 2009
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