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High Fidelity [Paperback]

Nick Hornby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 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 (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,066 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
5 of 5 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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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Gooners Required ! 31 Aug 2006
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
"High Fidelity" is Nick Hornby's first novel and was first published in 1995. It was later adapted for the big screen and starred John Cusak, Jack Black and Lisa Bonet. (The film was set in Chicago, though, rather than London).

The story is told by Rob Fleming, the thirty-something owner of a record shop called "Championship Vinyl". The shop, he claims, specialises in catering for the `serious' record collector - unfortunately, if sales are anything to go by, there aren't too many serious record collectors left. He is a bit of a trainspotter when it comes to music and his own record collection - which he tends to reorganise in times of emotional stress. His staff consists of the somewhat obnoxious Barry and the slightly nerdy Dick (one of the book's more likeable characters). Barry thinks and talks largely in lists - his top five Dustin Hoffman movies or the top ten albums made by blind musicians, for example - and it's a trait that Rob seems to have picked up to a degree. As the book opens, Rob has just been dumped by his girlfriend and he begins with his top five dumpings. (Rob has always, it seems, been the dumpee, rather than the dumper). Laura, the girlfriend who provided him with his most recent dumping, doesn't make the list.

The book sees Rob trying to work through his post-dumping traumas. He knows he hasn't been innocent and blameless, but that doesn't make the split any easier to deal with. The highs and lows include Marie LaSalle (an American folk-country singer on a small independent label and the focus of a post-breakup crush) and a phone call from one of Laura's friends, who mentions that she doesn't think much of `this Ian guy'. Unfortunately, Rob hadn't known anything about `this Ian guy'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 3 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 3 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 4 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 4 months ago by C. Woodhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Classic
I first read High Fidelity when it came out in 1995. I’ve re-read it a couple of times most recently a couple of years ago. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
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Another superb read 0 11 Jan 2009
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